Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, July 6, 1934 [1]

Grand Hôtel BaglioniIn 1903, the former Palazzo Carrega, a later nineteenth-century building in Florence, opened as the sixty-four–room Grand Hotel Baglioni.

Firenze

6.VII.34

Dear Robert.

I’ve examined the portraitThis portrait has not been identified. Royall Tyler’s later mention in this letter of the initials “P RS U” suggests that the painting was by Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio of Urbino). of which you have a photo.

It is a fine thing, the head built in a masterly way, but it is obscured by coat upon coat of varnish, and the inscription along the top is, I’ve sure, not by the hand of the original painter. It’s a pretty austere object, quite as much in the original as in the photo.

If the old varnish were removed it might look less gloomy, but I’m not sure.

As to the signature, Elisina, who saw the portrait in May, couldn’t see any. I, after peering through different magnifying glasses, finally did see, through a tailor’s compte-fil,“Magnifying glass.” in the inner corner of the sitters left eye, just by the tear duct, the letters P RS: I wasn’t sure about the U (for Urbinensis) which I was told was under the RS.These initials most likely abbreviate Pinxit Raphael Sanctius Urbinensis (painted by Raffaello Sanzio of Urbino). The letters are tiny, so tiny that they’re invisible to the naked eye, & must have been painted with a glass. That’s quite admirable, as the veins of the eye, also invisible without a glass, come out clearly when one examines the thing with glass.

En somme, I think it is what it’s represented to be, an early one. A severe object. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting you should go further without seeing it yourselves. Also, the owners are talking about 2 million lire, or 1½ million & it won’t hurt them to find out that that’s a lot of money these days. It’s a very ancient family,Possibly the Panciatichi family. well off till recently; a lot of things of theirs, including 5 Bronzinos,Agnolo di Cosimo (1503–1572), known as Il Bronzino or Agnolo Bronzino, an Italian Mannerist painter in Florence. are in the UffizziThe Uffizi Gallery, Florence. here.

Much love to you both

R. T.

 
Associated People: Elisina Tyler
Associated Places: Florence (Italy)