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According to contemporary biographers, Marco Benefial had an imposing appearance and he was proud of it--a testimony supported by this self-portrait. He presented himself with a pen and a sketchbook, the tools of his profession, and he added a Latin inscription in the cartouche: Aeques Marcus Benefial Romanus Anorum Quadraginta Septem Mensisque Unius (Roman painter Marco Benefial aged forty-seven years and one month). The ornamental border and billowing drapery accentuate his dignified pose, and the loose edges of his open shirt echo the cascading lines of his flowing hair. Benefial made this self-portrait for the Florentine nobleman Francesco Maria Niccolò Gabburri, who was known for collecting more than a hundred drawn portraits of artists. Gabburri seems to have had a particular interest in self-portraits, requesting them from dozens of his artistic contemporaries.

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