TEFAF Maastricht 2017 Highlights TOMASSO BROTHERS FINE ART
TEFAF Maastricht 2017 Highlights TOMASSO BROTHERS FINE ART
TEFAF Maastricht 2017 Highlights
TOMASSO BROTHERS FINE ART
TEFAF Maastricht 2017 Highlights
TOMASSO BROTHERS FINE ART Bardon Hall, Weetwood Lane, Leeds, ls16 8hj, UK tel. + 44 (0) 113 275 5545
Texts by Emanuela Tarizzo and Elliot Davies unless otherwise signed Our thanks for their contributions to Professor Daniele Benati, Professor Alvar GonzĂĄlez-Palacios, Dr Erich Schleier and Jane MacAvock Photography by Doug Currie Design by Laura Parker Produced by Paul Holberton publishing 89 Borough High Street London se1 1nl isbn 978 1 911300 27 4 www.tomassobrothers.co.uk in fo @tomassobrothers.co.uk ÂŠ 2017 Tomasso Brothers Fine Art
roman, 2nd century ad Head of Dionysus
grinling gibbons (1648–1721) A high relief of King David and Saint Cecilia performing a four-part ‘motet’ by Roland Lassus (c.1530–1594), after a painting by Peter de Witte (1548–1628), with a coat-of-arms belonging to the Barwick family, c. 1668–70
giovanni francesco barbieri, known as il guercino (1591–1666) Saint Jerome in Prayer, c. 1650
paul heermann (1673–1732) Saturn and Ops
roman, late 2nd century ad An important portrait bust of a young man
giuseppe valadier (1762–1839) A pair of silver wine coolers, Rome, 1810
annibale carracci (1560–1609) Portrait of an African Woman holding a Clock, c. 1583/85
franois girardon (1628–1715) The Abduction of Proserpina
sir anthony van dyck (1599–1641) Profile head study for The Raising of the Cross, 1631
jean-antoine houdon (1741–1828) Portrait bust of Christine Boyer (1771–1800), c. 1800–03
roman, 2nd century ad
Head of Dionysus White marble 45 cm (17¾ in.) high 23 cm (12½ in.) deep 26 cm (10¼ in.) wide provenance Henri Rotceig, Marbella (before 1998) Jacques and Galila Hollander collection, Brussels
Let the people’s hymn sound with the praise of Bacchus. Bind your streaming locks with the nodding ivy, and in your soft hands grasp the Nysaean thyrsus! Bright glory of the sky, come hither to the prayers which thine own illustrious Thebes, O Bacchus, offers to thee with suppliant hands. Hither turn with favour thy virginal face; with thy star-bright countenance drive away the clouds, the grim threats of Erebus, and greedy fate. Thee it becomes to circle thy locks with flowers of the springtime, thee to cover thy head with Tyrian turban, or thy smooth brow to wreathe with the ivy’s clustering berries; now to fling loose thy lawless-streaming locks, again to bind them in a knot close-drawn. Seneca, Oedipus (401ff.), 1st century ad
fig. 1 Roman, 2nd century ad Dionysus Taurus Marble Musei Capitolini, Rome
As in Seneca’s lyrical description, Dionysus – the ancient god of wine and revelry, known as Bacchus to ancient Romans – is here represented with his head, crowned with a wreath of ivy leaves, gently turning to one side, and his locks softly tied back with a ribbon that runs across his forehead, framing a most handsome and youthful countenance. Balancing classical idealization with carefully observed naturalism, this head is a masterful example of Roman craftsmanship inspired by Hellenistic models. Indeed the god’s headdress, his features and his downcast gaze are closely comparable to those found in a small group of Roman portrayals of Dionysus and Apollo after Hellenistic types datable to the first and second centuries ad, now held in museums worldwide. These include the renowned bust of Dionysus Taurus in the Sala del Gladiatore of the Musei Capitolini in Rome (part of Pope Pius V’s gift to the city after 1566; fig. 1); an intriguing fragmentary half-figure identified as either Dionysus or Apollo now in the Bardo Museum, Tunis; a standing Dionysus, his head looking downwards rather like the present one, discovered near the site of the ancient temple of Hercules in Ostia, outside Rome (Museo Ostiense, inv. no. 112; fig. 2); and a fulllength statue of Apollo with a cithara and quiver in the British Museum, excavated at the temple of Apollo in Cyrene. The distinctive arrangement of the hair in the present marble, tied in a coil at the back of the head, appears specific to Dionysian iconography; it is clearly illustrated in a relief representing the god now in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples (inv. no. 6728; fig. 3). The Hellenistic roots of these figures can be observed in the neatly defined, deeply carved curly locks, the almond-
fig. 2 Roman, 2nd century ad Dionysus Marble Museo Ostiense, Ostia fig. 3 Roman, 1st century ad Dionysus relief Marble Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples
shaped eyes framed by beautifully arching eyebrows, and the slightly parted lips, a detail that, together with the turning of the head, endows the compositions with a subtle, almost hesitant, sense of movement. These characteristics are fully shared by the present head, which appears to be closest to the Capitoline bust, albeit more delicate in the treatment of the surface and more elegantly restrained in its suggestion of movement. The Capitoline Dionysus Taurus model was brought to Paris in 1797, when it was selected for the Musée Napoléon at the Louvre, and resided here until 1815. This work was named ‘Taurus’ because of the appearance of small horns beneath the figure’s hair. This looks back to late Hellenistic models and the concept of fecundity, which also appears in the iconography and attributes of other gods. The present head must have immediately captured the attention of the discerning collectors Jacques and Galila Hollander, whose cabinet de curiosités formed one of the most extraordinary collections of artificialia, naturalia, scientifica and exotica of our age. Rightly defined as a theatrum mundi, the Hollander’s collection consisted of more than six hundred works, ranging from paintings to rare corals, from Flanders to China and from Antiquity through to the present day.
grinling gibbons (1648–1721)
A high relief of King David and Saint Cecilia performing a four-part ‘motet’ by Roland Lassus (c. 1530–1594), after a painting by Peter de Witte (1548–1628), with a coatof-arms belonging to the Barwick family, c. 1668–70 Boxwood 35.5 cm (14 in.) high 22.5 (8¾ in.) wide signed GG (on the organ played by Saint Cecilia) provenance Probably commissioned by Sir Robert Barwick of Toulston, Recorder of York P.B. Mayer Collection, Sotheby’s, London, 25 November 1963, lot 102 W.R. Rees-Davies Collection, Sotheby’s, London, 9 April 1973, lot 131 The Cyril Humphris Collection, Sotheby’s, New York, 10 January 1995, lot 65 A. Alfred Taubman collection, U.S.A. exhibited Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1998–99 literature David Esterly, Grinling Gibbons and the Art of Carving, Victoria and Albert Publications, London, 1998, pp. 41–51, illus. p. 43, fig. 23 ‘Grinling Gibbons: Aspects of His Style and Technique’, The Magazine Antiques, October 1998, pp. 494–500 Lynda Sayce and David Esterly, ‘“He was likewise musical ....” An unexpected aspect of Grinling Gibbons’, Apollo, June 2000, pp. 11–21, fig. 1
The details of Grinling Gibbons’s life before he arrived in the old English city of York, around 1667, is unclear, although it is believed he was born and raised in the Netherlands, to English parents. It is a possibility that he trained first with Artus Quellinus I or II, in the third quarter of the seventeenth century, during a period when the art of decorative wood carving flourished in theNetherlands, as established by the likes of Albert Jansz Vinckenbrinck (1604?–c. 1664). By the second half of the century, Dutch sculptors were moving away from the Quellinuses’ restrained classicism to a more expressive Baroque idiom (Baarsen 1999, p. 47). Gibbons worked with John Etty in York before moving down to London in 1671, where he was ‘discovered’ by John Evelyn and recommended to King Charles II. Whilst working for the King and his aristocratic circles he created perhaps the some of the most beautiful sculptural reliefs in wood that have ever been conceived. Fine examples can be seen at Hampton Court, Windsor Castle and Petworth House, Sussex. Gibbons also created a number of exquisite independent reliefs, such as the present example. He carved from lime
and lancewood a scene depicting the Stoning of Saint Stephen at some time between 1680 and 1710, now at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Gibbons also made a fine Crucifixion scene after Jacopo Tintoretto in 1671, complete with an elaborate floral border, which is now at Dunham Massey. It was the Crucifixion relief that Gibbons was engaged with when he first met John Evelyn. The episode is detailed in Evelyn’s diary entry for 18 January 1671. In it one gets the sense of Evelyn’s great excitement at meeting, for the first time, this young man with such a prodigious talent: … this day first acquainted his Majestie with that incomparable young man, Gibson, whom I had lately met with in an Obscure place, & that by meere accident, as I was walking neere a poore solitary thatched house, in a field in our Parish, neere Says-Court: I found him shut in, but looking into the Window, I perceiv’d him carving that large Cartoone or Crucifix of Tintorets, a Copy of which I had also my selfe brought from Venice, where the original painting remaines: I asked if I might come in, he opned the doore civily to me, & I saw him about such a work, as for the curiosity of handling, drawing and studious exactnesse, I never had before sceene before in all my travells: I asked why he worked in such an obscure & lonesome place; he told me, it was that he might apply himselfe to his profession without interuption; and wondred not a little how I came to find him out: I asked if he were unwilling to be made knowne to some Greate men; for that I believed it might turne to his profit; he answerd, he was yet but a beginner; but would yet not be sorry to sell off that piece; I asked him the price, he told me 100 pounds. In good earnest the very frame was worth the mony, there being nothing even in nature so tender, & delicate as the flowers & festoones about it, & yet the work was very strong; but in the Piece about 100 figures of men etc: I found he was likewise Musical, & very Civil, sober & discreete in his discourse: There was onley an old Woman in the house; so desiring leave to visite him sometimes, I tooke my leave: Of this Young Artist, together with my manner of finding him out, I acquainted the King, & beged of his Majestie that he would give me leave to bring him & his Worke to White-hall, for that I would adventure my reputation with his Majestie that he had never seene any thing approch it, & that he would be exceedingly pleased, & employ him: The King sayd, he would himselfe go see him: This was the first notice his Majestie ever had of Mr Gibbons. (Ed. Green 1964, pp. 33–34) The present scene depicts King David playing a harp and Saint Cecilia playing an organ, accompanied by a host of heavenly musicians with a lute, cornett, sackbut (early trombone), violin and violone (contrabass viol/viola da gamba). For the
arrangement, Gibbons has followed closely a painting by Peter de Witte (1548–1628) (also known as Candido) belonging to the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, but now in Maastricht. The painting was probably commissioned by Duke William V or his Bavarian court, in Munich, before 1593. A high-quality engraving of the work was made by Johannes Sadeler I (1550–c. 1600) when he travelled to Munich around 1589. One might expect that the engraved print, no doubt reproduced multiple times, would have been more accessible to Gibbons and so would have been the version that he worked from when carving his interpretation in boxwood. This theory appears to be supported by the fact that Gibbons’s version follows certain details of Sadeler’s engraving not included in De Witte’s panel, notably the inclusion of four staves on each page of the music, as opposed to two. However, Gibbons makes a very specific reference to a feature of De Witte’s oil on panel that he could not have known from Sadeler’s engraving. In the manufacture of his high relief, Gibbons joined two pieces of boxwood in such a way that the seam of their juncture is still visible, running down the centre of the relief. This seemingly counter-intuitive practice may represent a deliberate reference to the original painting, which in the same way is composed of two panels visibly joined in the centre of the picture plane. The engraving does not replicate this join and the effort to include such a specific and unusual feature of the original suggests Gibbons may, perhaps, have been familiar with the painting itself. Gibbons followed the works extremely closely and even began the painstaking (but perhaps ultimately impossible) process of reproducing the lyrics featured on the music presented to the viewer by the putti on an almost microscopic scale. Gibbons began to inscribe CA, the beginning of the word ‘cantus’ which appears at the top of a sheet in de Witte’s original painting. Incidentally, ‘cantus’ is the shortened version of ‘cantus fermus’, the name for a pre-composed melody in a polyphonic composition. The music they are playing is a short four-part ‘motet’ by Roland Lassus (Orlando di Lasso, c. 1530–1594) singing ‘Laudent deum cithara’, which represents a paraphrase of lines 3 and 4 from Psalm 150: 3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, 4 Praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, 5 Praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals
This has been paraphrased as the following, and appears on the painting by de Witte: Laudent Deum cithara, chori vox, tuba, fides,/ cornu, organa./Alleluia. (Let the lyre, voice of the choir, trumpet, viol, horn, organ, praise God. Alleluia.) As suggested by Lynda Sayce and David Esterley in their article ‘“He was likewise musical …”’, Gibbons’s repeated use of identifiable scores of sheet music are very valuable tools for dating his works (Sayce and Esterly 2000, p. 11). Indeed, the composer, Lassus, was, like the painter and engraver, a prominent figure at the Bavarian court of Duke William V of Bavaria in Munich in the 1580s and 1590s (Esterly 1998, p. 41). De Witte was court painter and Lassus was the leader of the Duke’s orchestra and chamber ensembles. To illustrate the sentiment behind the work further, in the print version there is the accompanying phrase Iuvenes et virgines, senes cum iunioribus, laudent nomen domini (Young men and maidens, old men and children, praise the name of the Lord). On his engraving, Sadeler inserted the coat-of-arms of the Dukes of Bavaria on King David’s harp. However, Gibbons chose to replace these with three bears’ heads, the coat-of-arms belonging to the prominent Barwick family of York. This fascinating detail makes it likely that the work was commissioned, or purchased, by the Barwicks and is also strongly indicative of the relief ’s date, since it is believed Gibbons was working in York only between 1667 and 1671. Therefore the present work represents one of his very earliest works and joins another (albeit smaller) relief from this early period, described by Ralf Thoresby as: The history of Elijah under the Juniper Tree, supported by an Angel (I Kings, 19); all perform’d in wood by the celebrated Mr Grindlin Gibbon, when resident at Yorke. Six inches in length and from in breadth. (Whitaker 1816, p. 49) In a letter from Gibbons to John Etty, the carpenter and architect (c. 1634–1708), he writes: I received You’ers and Mr. Stavnes to day and I toeld him that was to pay the Carvigs and thar fore I wold not medell with the bargine. I hartely beg You’er pardon for not writing to You in dead my busnes is so great … my man will be in Yorck I hoep in 5 or 6 daes for I hoep he has don in darby. (Stewart 1976, pp. 508–09) The existence of this letter firmly substantiates Gibbons’s links with York and to John Etty that is suggested by the historian Ralf (Ralph) Thoresby and by Vertue’s account of Gibbons being first employed in Yorkshire before he moved to London and began
working for King Charles II. Thoresby recorded a late evening in 1702 spent with “a parcel” of York artists and as a side note mentioned Grinling Gibbons and the subject of his training with John Etty in York: Evening sat up too late with a parcel of artists I had got on my hands, Mr Gyles, the famousest painter of glass perhaps in the world … Mr Carpenter, the statuary, and Mr Etty, the painter, with whose father, Mr Etty sen., the architect, the most celebrated Grinlin Gibbons wrought at York, but whether apprenticed with him or not I remember not well. Sate up full late with them. (Thoresby 1830, p. 366) Interestingly, Gibbons’s relief may have inspired an important stained-glass window at Saint Helen’s church, Denton Hall, depicting the same scene. It was made by Henry Gyles (1645–1709), a participant at Thoresby’s aforementioned evening, and was commissioned by Thomas, 5th Lord Fairfax (1657–1710) in 1700. The Fairfax family had links to the Barwicks through the marriage of Sir Robert Barwick’s daughter and heiress Frances (d. 1683/84) to Henry Fairfax (1631–1688), 4th Lord Fairfax, in 1671. Indeed, the Denton Hall window includes both the Barwick and the Fairfax armorials. The late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries in Britain were a particularly fascinating period. The destabilizing forces of war, revolution and a “Great fire” in the capital injected a new dynamism and attracted new waves of merchants, traders and artists, seeking to achieve fame and fortune, including young Grinling Gibbons. Indeed, the huge building projects commissioned in the wake of these destructive events, which included Saint Paul’s Cathedral, numerous churches in the City of London, the palaces of Chatsworth and Blenheim, the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, and Greenwich Hospital, provided an unprecedented supply of work for artists, architects and builders. This prosperity filtered down to the associated trades that comprised the ‘art world’ in Britain at this time – picture dealers and galleries, decorators, framers, carvers, drawing masters, publishers, surveyors and engravers. In addition, the capital city also expanded westwards, which produced a new clientele for fine works of art, and a vibrant print culture began to develop, which increased the commercial possibilities for artists working in Britain.
related literature H. Walpole, Collected Works, III, 1798, p. 343 T.R. Whitaker, Ducatus Leodiensis, 2nd edn, Leeds, 1816, p. 49 (citing the Yorkshire historian Ralph Thoresby) R. Thoresby, Diary, in. J. Hunter (ed.), The Diary of Ralph Thoresby, F.R.S. Author of the Topography of Leeds (1677 –1724), vol. 1, London, 1830, p. 366 (1702) G. Vertue, ‘Notebooks I–VI; vol. VI with integral index’, Walpole Society, vol. I, XVIII (1929–30); vol. II, XX (1931–32); vol. III, XXII (1933–34); vol. IV, XXIV (1935–36) E.S. de Beer (ed.), John Evelyn, Diary, 6 vols., Oxford, 1959 E. Croft-Murray and P. Hulton, Catalogue of British Drawings, British Museum, 2 vols. (1960), pp. 332–35 J.D. Stewart, ‘Some Unrecorded Gibbons Monuments’, The Burlington Magazine, March 1963, pp. 124–27 D. Green, Grinling Gibbons, his work as carver and statuary 1648–1721, London, 1964, pp. 33–34 D. Green, ‘Paintings that Inspired Gibbons’, Country Life, vol. 135, June 1964 R. Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660–1851, 2nd edn, London, 1968 Frans Halsmuseum Catalogue, Haarlem, 1969, p. 69, no. 313 J.D. Stewart, ‘New Light on the Early Career of Grinling Gibbons’, The Burlington Magazine, July 1976, pp. 508–09 Peter Candid – Zeichnungen, exh. cat., Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München, 1978–79, no. 4, pls. 9, 101 Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts, Amsterdam, 1980, vol. XXI, p. 101, no. 127 ‘Henry Gyles, Virtuoso Glasspainter of York, 1645–1709’, York Historian, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 167–70 G. Beard, ‘Grinling Gibbons’, Antiques Magazine, vol. 135, June 1989, pp. 1444–55 G. Beard, The Work of Grinling Gibbons, London, 1989, Appendix I, p. 208 D. Esterly, Grinling Gibbons and the Art of Carving, London, 1998 R. Baarsen, ‘Exhibition Review of Grinling Gibbons and the Art of Carving, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1998–1999’, The Burlington Magazine, January 1999, pp. 47–48 D. Esterly, ‘Grinling Gibbons in Retrospect’, The Burlington Magazine, vol. 141, no. 1155, June 1999, pp. 355–56
giovanni francesco barbieri, known as il guercino (1591–1666)
Saint Jerome in Prayer, c. 1650 Oil on canvas 119.5 cm (47¼ in.) high 99.5 cm (39½ in.) wide provenance Probably commissioned by Girolamo Panessi, Genoa, 1648, or by Camillo II or Alfonso II Gonzaga, Counts of Novellara, 1652 Private collection, Italy
Standing out against a turbulent sky and a rocky landscape, Saint Jerome is portrayed half length, in the act of adoring a crucifix. His crimson-coloured cloak has slipped to the side, revealing a muscular torso, seemingly untouched by old age. Behind the saint sit an inkwell with a feather, propped on a shelf-like rock, and a book, presumably Jerome’s translation of the Bible (the so-called Vulgate), which he has temporarily interrupted to dedicate himself to prayer. This painting, distinguished by a very high level of quality, was certainly executed by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri and can be dated on stylistic grounds to the end of the 1640s or the early 1650s, when the master from Cento was working in an increasingly elegant manner and with a lighter palette, influenced by the example of Guido Reni and Domenichino. In its refined choice of colours and sharp execution, our canvas is closely related to Guercino’s Lot and his Daughters, executed in 1650 for Girolamo Panessi (Gemäldegalerie, Dresden), or to his Vocation of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga painted in 1650–51 for the Theatine order at Guastalla (now Metropolitan Museum, New York). Both are also characterized, notwithstanding their differing original locations, by closely comparable lighting (see L. Salerno, I dipinti del Guercino, Rome, 1988, nos. 275 and 276 respectively). These considerations indicate that, despite the recurrence of the present subject in Guercino’s Libro dei Conti, our painting is to be identified either with the “Saint Jerome half-length” for which the artist received payment from Girolamo Panessi on 27 October 1648 or with one of the two “half-length figures”, including a Saint Jerome, for which the Count of Novellara paid Guercino, through Giovanni Battista Tartaglioni, on 29 November 1652 (see Il libro dei conti del Guercino, 1629–1666, ed. B. Ghelfi, Bologna, 1997, p. 140, no. 397, and p. 159, no. 462, respectively). Both works are yet to be identified with known paintings by the master and their descriptions closely match the present canvas. The present composition was previously known through a version owned by the Museo di Capodimonte, currently in the Palazzo Reale in Naples, which can be attributed to Guercino’s workshop. Photographic comparison alone can reveal the superiority of the present canvas, which, also thanks to its excellent state of conservation, clearly displays the pictorial quality that the great master from Cento
had developed in the course of his maturity. Treating a subject that he had already painted in his youth drove Guercino to seek new compositional solutions, which can be particularly appreciated in the emotional élan that pervades the image and in the vivid highlights that animate the palette. The rediscovery of this painting constitutes an important addition to the established catalogue of works by Guercino, whose supreme mastery of expression is the cause of endless wonder. daniele benati Bologna, 18 November 2016
Guercino: A short introduction to his life Giovanni Francesco Barbieri was born in Cento, an early medieval town nestled in the countryside between Bologna and Ferrara, in 1591. According to the eighteenthcentury biographer Giovanni Battista Passeri, whose 1772 Vite de’ pittori, scultori ed architetti offers a comprehensive if romanticized account of the painter’s life, Guercino’s father supplied wood to the celebrated Carracci workshop in Bologna, where the young Giovanni Francesco was supposedly first introduced to the art of painting by Annibale. Annibale had in point of fact left Bologna for Rome in 1595, when Guercino was only four years old, but Passeri’s anecdote certainly pinpoints one of the key influences of Guercino’s formative years. Indeed, the naturalistic, innovative style of the Carracci was to prove central to the development of our painter’s vocabulary. Ludovico Carracci was amongst the first to recognize the young artist’s talent, writing in 1617 that Guercino “has heroic quality… he paints with greatly felicitous invention. And [he is] a great draughtsman and very talented in the application of colour; he is a prodigy of nature and a miraculous surprise to those who see his works” (see G. Bottari-Ticozzi, Raccolta di lettere, Milan, 1822, I, pp. 286–89). Other major sources of inspiration for Guercino were Bartolomeo Schedoni in Parma, Scarsellino in Ferrara and the sixteenth-century painters he admired on his first documented visit to Venice in 1618, above all Titian. Passeri also mentions an early encounter with Caravaggio in Rome, but this record appears unfounded, and the chiaroscuro gradations of Guercino’s early production derive rather from direct observation of Ludovico Carracci’s work. Our painter visited Rome, for the first time in 1621–23, at the behest of Pope Gregory XV. In 1642, following Guido Reni’s death, Guercino moved from Cento to Bologna, where he established a highly successful and prolific workshop and remained until his death in 1666. Admired for his precocious talent from a young age, Guercino by 1617 presided over a workshop of no less than 23 pupils. His first patron, the canon Padre Antonio Mirandola, encouraged him to compose a volume of reference drawings for students of painting, which was published in 1619 under the title Primi elementi per introdurre i Giovani al Disegno, with a dedication to the Gonzaga Duke of Mantua, who expressed his appreciation by gifting 100 scudi to the painter and by commissioning from him a picture with a subject of his choice. Pleased with the result, a representation of Erminia and the Shepherd, the Duke duly knighted the young artist.
The early years of Guercino’s production – before his journey to Rome – were dominated by a series of commissions in his native Emilia Romagna region, notably for the influential Pepoli family in Bologna, for Alessandro Ludovisi, the city’s Archbishop and future Pope Gregory XV, and for the papal legate in Ferrara, Cardinal Iacopo Serra. The bold and deep colouring, dramatic shadowing, heightened representation of emotions and vigorous, charged brushstrokes of this period would gradually mature into more classicizing and luminous compositions as a result of Guercino’s seminal years in Rome. According to the writings of Malvasia, Guercino began work at the Vatican in May 1621, tasked with decorating the Loggia delle Benedizioni. Though he never completed it, Guercino was far from idle in Rome. Most notably he executed the fresco of Aurora for the ceiling of the Villa Ludovisi’s ground-floor salon and created the immense Burial of Saint Petronilla altarpiece for the Basilica of Saint Peter’s. For Cardinal Scipione Borghese Guercino painted Saint Chrysogonus in Glory for the ceiling of the church of Saint Chrysogonus in Trastevere, and for the Patrizi family’s palace (now Costaguti) he frescoed a representation of the chariot of Armida. In Rome Guercino was able to observe the mastery both of his predecessors, from Raphael to Michelangelo, and of his contemporaries, such as Guido Reni and Domenichino, whose clearer, more fluid palettes and echoes of classical antiquity made a profound impression on our painter. Upon his return to Cento in 1623 Guercino set out to resume the local commissions he had interrupted owning to his Roman sojourn, but by this time his fame was such that patrons sought him out from all corners of the Italian peninsula and beyond. Indeed it is said that when Queen Catherine of Sweden paid him a visit she asked permission to touch the hand that had created such marvels in paint, and both Charles I of England and the King of France offered him the coveted position of court painter, both of which he refused. Guercino eventually left Cento in 1642 to settle in Bologna, where during the later phase of his career, lasting over twenty years, he was consecrated as one of the greatest painters of the seventeenth century. Starting in Rome, Guercino’s style had begun to developed from the more exuberant, naturalistic language of his youth to a subtler, more idealizing and distilled one. The vigorous dynamism of his early figures evolved into more sensitively composed arrangements, and the relentless chiaroscuro light he had inherited from the Venetian Cinquecento and Ludovico Carracci transformed into a softer, warmer glow. Physiognomies changed too, as the more rustic traits of his characters were tempered by the influence of Rome’s classicizing idealism. This evolution is beautifully exemplified by works such as the present canvas, where the figure of Saint Jerome emerges from a dark background with the grand monumentality of ancient statuary, his cloak falling emphatically yet elegantly across his torso and his expression spiritual yet restrained. Most fortuitously for scholars, from January 1629 until his death in 1666 Guercino’s activity was recorded nearly month by month in the pages of a book of accounts first kept by his brother, the painter of still lifes Paolo Antonio, and continued by Guercino himself after his brother’s death. This important document lists for each commission received by Guercino the date, patron and price paid, and as such constitutes an invaluable aid to cataloguing the artist’s oeuvre, as in the case of the present Saint Jerome in Prayer.
paul heermann (1673–1732)
Saturn and Ops White marble 139.5 cm (55 in.) high 66 cm (26 in.) wide 53 cm (21 in.) deep provenance Rittergut Lucklum, Germany, by 1806, in situ until late 20th century
Paul Heermann (1673–1732) was perhaps both the finest, and the last great, practitioner of the Baroque style of sculpture in the regions of Bohemia and Saxony. His flamboyant, idiosyncratic style emerged out of the fertile artistic environment that had been established in the cultured, metropolitan centres of Dresden and Prague during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. As a signed and dated boxwood work in the Grassi Museum Leipzig reveals (ROMA/PAUL HERM[ANN]/ 1700), he spent time in Rome c. 1700 (Schmidt 2005, p. 66). He also had the benefit of working closely with his uncle, Johann George Heermann, the Electoral Saxon sculptor, who himself had spent perhaps a decade in Rome, Venice and other Italian cities, working in the Roman High Baroque style associated with Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Schmidt 2005, p. 59). The court of Dresden attracted important artists such as Balthasar Permoser (1651–1732), who moved there from Florence in 1690. François Coundray (1678–1727) and Jean-Joseph Vinache (1699–1754) were later summoned from the French Academy between 1715 and 1719. There were also a handful of notable native sculptors such as Johann Joachim Kretzschmar (1677–1740), Benjamin Thomae (1682–1751) and Christian Kirchner (1691–1732). These sculptors and their followers composed a busy and vibrant milieu of international artists, who capitalized on a ready supply of patronage in the cities of Dresden and Prague which perhaps achieved its zenith under the reign of Augustus the Strong (1670–1733), First Prince Elector of Saxony and King of Poland (Schmidt 2005, p. 58). The import of Venetian works by Antonio Corradini (1688–1752) and numerous small bronze statuettes and other statuary from Paris to these cities may have inspired and further fuelled the appetite of wealthy citizens to commission great works of sculpture. Both Paul and Johann’s most important project at the end of seventeenth century was undoubtedly the grand staircase on the external façade of the Troja Castle in Prague, owned by Reichsgraf Wenzel Adalbert von Sternberg of Bohemia. In 1685 they carved a host of colossal, Olympian figures that descended on the balustrades of the staircase down from the tympanum above the main portal in a highly ostentatious style (fig. 1). The composition of these monumental, writhing, figures represented an overt homage to the achievements of the Italian Baroque, but filtered through the lens of the two Heermann’s particular Saxon Bohemian style. The staircase is now rightly revered as one of the most impressive artistic achievements of the period.
fig. 1 The grand staircase on the external façade of Troja Castle, Prague fig. 2 Johann George Heermann, Fallen Giants, external staircase of Troja Castle, Prague
The extensive programme of figures from classical mythology at Troja included Triton, Vulcan, Jupiter, Minerva, Bacchus, a pair of fallen giants floundering in the stairwell (fig. 2), Diana and Ceres reclining, among others. Another figure relevant to the present marble group is the Chronus, or Saturn, placed prominently at the front left of the staircase as you approached from the garden, who appears, typically, devouring his children. Since the stairs led down to the gardens of the estate, it is possible that Heermann intended this Chronus/Saturn figure to represent Winter as part of a decorative scheme that formed a standard allegorical representation of the Four Seasons – with Flora (Spring), Ceres (Summer) and Bacchus (Autumn). The allegorical personification of the Four Seasons and the representation of their protagonists was a theme Paul Heermann was to return to several times during his career. He carved a wonderful pair of busts of Autumn (fig. 3) and Winter (fig. 4), now in the sculpture collection at Dresden. The Dresden bust of Winter is almost identical in the style of carving and facial physiognomy to our bust (see fig. 6). He also produced a further bust of Winter, now at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (fig. 5), and, of course, the present sculptural group, which depicts figures with the attributes of Saturn/Chronus and Ops/Rhea as Winter and Summer, respectively. Other works in Heermann’s oeuvre that possess passages of sculpture which are extremely similar in style, technique and facture include an altar angel he carved for the church of Lommatzsch in 1714, whose style of wings appear to be replicated here (fig. 7). There is also a signed and dated pair of putti crowning each other with a laurel wreath, now in the Los Angeles County Museum (figs. 8 & 9), which provides some interesting points of comparison. The upward glance of the crowned putto, with deeply incised pupils so typical of Paul Heermann, strongly evokes Saturn’s gaze in our group. In conjunction with this, the particular style of modelling in the same putto’s clumps of wavy hair, the virtuoso use of the drill to enhance the sense of movement, and the flame-like laurel leaves of the crown constitute a passage of sculpture that is almost identical to those which form our similarly crowned head of Ops. The rock-work bases of these two groups and the creamy, alabaster-like marble
fig. 3 Paul Heermann Autumn Sculpture Collection, Dresden fig. 4 Paul Heermann Winter Sculpture Collection, Dresden fig. 5 Paul Heermann Winter J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
fig. 6 Paul Heermann Winter (detail) Sculpture Collection, Dresden
from which they are carved is also almost identical. The great number of similarities between the style, technique and facture of these works and our group of Saturn and Ops leave no doubt as to its authorship by Paul Heermann. At Versailles, Charles Le Brun established the fashion for including statues of the Seasons for programmes of garden sculpture. In the Louvre collection there exists a sketch by Le Brun, apparently of Saturn and Cybele, in an arrangement very similar to the present work. An aged, nude and bearded Saturn, complete with a fine set of wings, crouches below a nude female figure, in order to lift her upwards (fig. 10). Le Brun drafted this arrangement as a preliminary study for a sculptural group intended for Versailles. Regnaudin later made a version loosely based upon it which was installed at the Palace’s Orangerie in 1687. It was then transferred to the garden of the Tuileries in Paris and now resides in the Louvre (inv. MR 2084). Regnaudin largely departed from Le Brun’s initial idea through the addition of a figure of Ceres. Houasse also used the drawing in a manner almost unchanged in one of the medallions painted on the ceiling of the Salon de Vénus at Versailles (fig. 11). Another drawing by Le Brun, preserved in the Albertina, Vienna (inv. no. 11689), is closer to Regnaudin’s group, but with the figure of Ceres also absent. Ops was revered as the Roman goddess of abundance and fertility. She appears in the present group by Paul Heermann accompanied by her consort Saturn, an early Roman deity of agriculture, who reigned on earth during the Golden Age. He was worshipped as the eponymous deity of the festival of Saturnalia, held in December, at the time of the modern day Christian festival of Christmas, which replaced it. The Romans identified him with the Greek god Chronus, the king of the Titans and god of Time. The iconographic interchangeability between Chronus and Saturn and their allegorical personification of Winter mirrors the relationship between Rhea,
fig. 7 Paul Heermann Angel, 1714 Church of Lommatzsch, Saxony, Germany fig. 8 Paul Heermann Laurel Coronation, 1712 Los Angeles, County Museum fig. 9 Inscription from Laurel Coronation, 1712
fig. 10 Charles Le Brun Saturn abducting Cybele, c. 1654–74 Musée du Louvre, Paris fig. 11 René-Antoine Houasse Saturn abducting Cybele, 1676 Château de Versailles
Ops and Ceres and their association as Summer. Rhea was the wife of Chronus and mother of the gods and so represented female fertility and motherhood. She was closely identified with the Anatolian mother-goddess Cybele. The Romans equated these deities with Ops, as the wife of Saturn, and built a temple in her honour on the Palatine. The present sculptural group was at the historically important Schloss and beautiful surrounding estate of Rittergut Lucklum by 1806. In the thirteenth century, the German Knights Templar settled in Lucklum, where they founded an administrative centre and operated the land and forestry estate. In 1809, the Order was expropriated under Napoleon and Lucklum passed into private ownership.
note Dr Eike D. Schmidt, Director of the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, and author of Paul Heermann (1673–1732): Meister der Barockskulptur in Böhmen und Sachsen: Neue Aspekte seines Schaffens (Munich, 2005), will publish the present work in his forthcoming publication regarding the sculpture of Paul Heermann.
related literature Eike D. Schmidt, Paul Heermann (1673–1732): Meister der Barockskulptur in Böhmen und Sachsen: Neue Aspekte seines Schaffens, Munich, 2005
roman, late 2nd century ad
An important portrait bust of a young man Marble 75 cm (29½ in.) high provenance Art Institute of Chicago until c. 1963 Gifted to Mr. Ralph Weil by Ms. Margaret Gentles, then curator of Oriental Art By descent to Wasco Rogula By descent to Alexandria Accardi until 2013
fig. 1 Roman, c. 200–10 ad Emperor Septimius Severus Marble, 67.31 cm high British Museum, London, former Townley Collection
This exquisite and important bust of a young Roman was carved at the end of the second century ad, probably during the early years of the Severan dynasty, at the height of the Roman Empire. The skill involved in carving this portrait bust, with its enigmatic gaze, crisp and finely draped cloak together with its socle and voluted tabula, from a single piece of beautifully veined white marble is undoubtedly of an extremely high order. The young man’s cloak, or paludamentum, is fastened at his proper right shoulder by the intact and original integral fibula. The paludamentum was associated with the representation of military leaders, important aristocrats and of course the Emperor (Feifer 2008, p. 136). Although, it should be noted, the garment was not reserved exclusively for the representation of citizens who held a military position, it retained a martial significance with a rhetorical power that could be drawn upon and employed by an aspiring young aristocrat, as was probably the case in the present work. The style of the garment is almost identical to that worn by the Emperor Septimius Severus (reigned 193–211 ad) in a bust portrait of him in the the Townley collection, now in the British Museum (fig. 1.) This could date the work to the same period that the imperial archetype was made, which may have been upon the Emperor’s accession to the throne in 193 ad at the age of forty-eight. The long, cropped hairstyle of this bust compares favourably to busts in the Galleria Colonna of an unidentified private citizen (fig. 2) and of a young man from the Nerva-Antonine dynasty at Castle Howard, Yorkshire, England (fig. 3). The hairstyle is indeed typical of this era of portraiture and has been interpreted as an attempt to express the values of metropolitan, urbane civility, as opposed to the more conservative and muscular masculinity of military virtus represented by a shaven head that was popular in the earlier Trajanic period. The beard first appeared in Imperial Roman portraiture sculpture with depictions of the Emperor Hadrian (76–138 ad) and was thought to refer to his apparent ‘philhellenism’ and intellectualism. It is merely scholarly conjecture, but the aristocratic youth captured here may perhaps have wished to present himself as a similarly urbane, highly educated and cultured individual with this ‘paideian’ style of beard that could have suggested an affinity with the revered Greek philosophers. He also may have sought to display his high birth and imperial allegiance as a member of the fashionable,
fig. 2 Roman, c. 150–200 ad Portrait of a young man Marble, 61 cm high Palazzo Colonna, Rome fig. 3 Bust of Young Man Early Antonine period Marble, 82 cm cm Castle Howard, Yorkshire, England
governing elite of Rome through his choice of hairstyle and the adoption of the particular style of paludamentum worn by the new Emperor, therefore rendering him a loyal and ideal member of the Roman Empire. Not only the style but also the size and silhouette of the present bust strongly indicates a late second-century date. Busts during this period had grown to more than twice the size of those of the late Republic, and the insertion of a decorative rectangular tabula, which raised it above its socle, allowed the bust to become much more monumental and imposing as a work of art in its own right, while the iconography of the portrait bust became more individualized (Feifer 2008, p. 245). Styles of head, drapery, breast piece, height and profile occur in seemingly innumerable varieties in late second-century bust portraiture and the level of sculptural sophistication exhibited in the present bust is remarkable. The increased ‘verism’ of portrait busts during this period generates the feeling of greater intimacy with the subject and charges these works with an added psychological dimension. This is evident in the present bust, for the level of artistry exhibited here is of such excellence that a shiver of life almost appears to stir behind the eyes of this ancient block of stone. related literature J.D. Breckenridge, Likeness: A Conceptual History of Ancient Portraiture, Illinois, 1968 J.M.C. Toynbee, Roman Historical Portraits, New York, 1978 F. Carinci, H. Keutner, L. Musso, M.G. Picozzi, Catalogo della Galleria Colonna in Roma, Rome, 1990, pp. 163–66, no. 89 J. Pollini (ed.), Roman Portraiture: Images of Character and Virtue, exh. cat., Fisher Gallery, Los Angeles, 1990 D.E.E. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture, New Haven, 1992 E.R. Varner (ed.), From Caligula to Constantine: Tyranny & Transformation in Roman Portraiture, exh. cat., Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta, 2000 J. Feifer, Roman Portraits in Context, Berlin, 2008 P. Zanker, Roman Portraits, Sculptures in stone and bronze, in the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2016
giuseppe valadier (1762–1839)
A pair of silver wine coolers, Rome, 1810 Cast, chiselled and embossed silver 36 cm (14 in.) high 25 cm (9¾ in.) diameter signed and dated EQUES. IOSPEH. VALADIER. FECIT. ANNO. DOMINI. MDCCCX markings ‘V’ & ‘VI’ provenance Tommaso Gargallo (1760–1843), Marchese di Castel Lentini, Siracusa, Sicily, 1810
The shape and decoration of the present vessels is closely modelled on the famous Borghese Vase (fig. 1): the sole differences are the handles, which do not appear in the prototype, and the base, which in these two silver vases is round and inscribed with the words EQVES IOSEPH VALADIER FECIT ANNO DOMINI MDCCCX. The coat of arms in the inside of both is that of the Marquises Gargallo of Castel Lentini. The undersides of the vessels are marked with the numerals V and VI respectively. The coat of arms of Tommaso Gargallo (fig. 2) that appears on the inside of each vase testifies to their provenance. Marquis of Castel Lentini, he was born in Syracuse (Sicily) in 1760 and died there in 1843 (fig. 3). Gargallo was a very important figure of his age, above all as a poet and translator from Latin, but also as a politician of a certain weight in Sicily and Naples and afterwards in what became the Kingdom
fig. 1 The Borghese Vase Graeco-Roman, 40–30 bc Marble, 171 cm high Musée du Louvre, Paris
fig. 2 Coat-of-arms of Don Tommaso Gargallo and Montalto, Barone di Priolo and Marchese di Castel Lentini fig. 3 Giuseppe Patania Portrait of Don Tommaso Gargallo and Montalto, Barone di Priolo and Marchese di Castel Lentini, 1812 Oil on canvas Biblioteca Arcivescovile Alagoniana, Syracuse
of the Two Sicilies, attaining the position of minister. He travelled extensively throughout Italy and Europe and counted in his circle some of the most prominent writers of the period, such as Vittorio Alfieri, Giuseppe Parini, Ippolito Pindemonte, Alphonse de Lamartine and Alessandro Manzoni. The Borghese Vase, considered to be one of the foremost examples of ancient sculpture, is documented as early as the end of the sixteenth century, when it was discovered in Rome. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the vase was at the Villa Borghese, until after 1808, when it was moved to the Louvre, together with the most famous pieces from the collection. Models after this celebrated prototype, made in a variety of media and sizes, were often paired with those after the Medici Vase, which had been discovered around the same date and is now in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence (fig. 4). The resemblances between these two works in the so-called neo-Attic style made them an ideal pair: their main difference is the absence of handles in the Borghese Vase, often remedied, as in the present case. Both ancient marble vases have always been highly admired, yet the Borghese one was illustrated, on its own, by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, which made it all the more famous, especially in Britain ( J. Wilton-Ely, Giovanni Battista Piranesi: The Complete Etchings, San Francisco, 1994, II, pp. 1085–86; for the Borghese and Medici vases, see F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 314–16). Piranesi also reproduced a planar illustration of the frieze, featuring a Dionysian dance, decorating the middle section of the vase. Subsequently, Ennio Quirino Visconti published both the vase and its frieze, describing the latter in detail as a “Bacchanal with Bacchus, Silenus, Fauns and Maenads carved on to the great pentelic marble vase found at the Orti Sallustiani” (Sculture del Palazzo della Villa Borghese detta Pinciana, Rome, 1796, I, pp. 40–41, nos. 9, 10). The Borghese and Medici Vases were reproduced in different instances by the Roman eighteenth-century bronziers Zoffoli and Righetti, and large-scale versions can be seen at Houghton Hall and Osterley Park. An alabaster version exists at Houghton, which could be the work of a Roman sculptor such as Carlo Albacini or Lorenzo Cardelli.
fig. 4 The Medici Vase Graeco-Roman, 3rd quarter of 1st century bc Marble, 173 cm high Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
fig. 5 Pietro Labruzzi Portrait of Giuseppe Valadier, c. 1795 Oil on canvas, 64.3 × 52.5 cm The Art Institute of Chicago fig. 6 Giuseppe Valadier A pair of silver wine coolers, Rome, 1810 Signed: EQUES. IOSPEH. VALADIER. FECIT. ANNO. DOMINI. MDCCCX, with the arms of Don Tommaso Gargallo and Montalto, Barone di Priolo and Marchese di Castel Lentini Museo degli Argenti, Pitti Palace, Florence
Giuseppe Valadier (fig. 5) is renowned today primarily as an architect: he designed, for example, Piazza del Popolo, one of Rome’s most famous landmarks. In this case, however, we are looking at Valadier the silversmith, a craft he had learned and inherited – together with a workshop – from his father Luigi Valadier (1726–1785), the most illustrious Italian goldsmith of the eighteenth century. The celebrated family studio had produced some of the most extraordinary precious objects and most prized bronze casts of the eighteenth century. After Luigi’s death, Giuseppe continued his father’s activity for several years, concentrating increasingly on architecture towards the end of his career. In the early nineteenth century Giuseppe still ran the Valadier workshop, and did so until 1817, when his role was taken up by his brother-inlaw Giuseppe Spagna, who bought the atelier a decade later. In 1805 Giuseppe executed two monumental silver lamps, 98 cm high, featuring figures modelled after the famous sculpture of Juno in the Giustiniani collection (formerly Versace collection, Milan; A. González-Palacios, Nostalgia e invenzione. Arredi e arti decorative a Roma e Napoli nel Settecento, Milano, 2010, figs. 131–32). He personally designed these lamps, as he certainly did with the present craters, which must have been part of a group of at least six, as they are marked with the Roman numerals V and VI. Two other vases from this group are known, and they were acquired in 2004 by the Museo degli Argenti at Palazzo Pitti (fig. 6; M. Mosco, ‘Due vasi in argento di Giuseppe Valadier al Museo degli Argenti di Firenze’, in Amici di Palazzo Pitti. Bollettino, 2004, pp. 64–66). The General Registry (Registro generale) of the contents of Giuseppe Valadier’s workshop, dated 1810 but begun at least two years earlier, lists amongst the plasters on folio 319 “a series of vases including one of the Medici and another Borghese, circa 1 6 /12 palmi high”; and on folio 325 “a bas-relief of the figures on the Medici vase”. These plaster models would have been used for different types of casts. It is likely plaster versions of the Borghese vase and of its figures also existed in the workshop. The measurement of 1 6/12 palmi corresponds roughly to 34 cm, hence the dimension of
the present vases (the General Registry lists all the tools, materials, models, moulds, designs and some finished works present in the workshop of Valadier. I have quoted this extensive document in my various publications since 1991, as I have done in my forthcoming monograph on Valadier for the Frick Collection, which has recently bought the Registry). During the same period in Britain, where the ideas and taste of Piranesi were widely acclaimed and promoted through the work of artists such as Robert Adam and John Soane, ancient prototypes were used to create artefacts for the highest echelons of society. In 1808–09 the Prince Regent, the future King George IV, commissioned a series of silver craters for his residence, Carlton House, destined to be used as wine coolers. Their shape was derived from the Borghese Vase, but the figures did not follow this prototype alone. These silver vessels were executed by Benjamin and James Smith and by Paul Storr. At 27 cm high, they are smaller than the Gargallo ones, with the exception of a set of four, which closely reproduce the Borghese Vase (D. Udy, ‘Piranesi’s Vasi: the English Silversmith and his Patrons’, The Burlington Magazine, 1978, pp. 820–37; H. Young, ‘A further note on J.J. Boileau, a Forgotten Designer of Silver’, Apollo, October 1986; Carlton House. The Past Glories of George IV’s Palace, exh. cat., The Queen’s Gallery, London, 1991, pp. 127–28, no. 87). It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Giuseppe Valadier – faithful to the example of his father’s surtouts de table and silver table service for the Prince Borghese – proposed to a grand seigneur, Tommaso Gargallo, a classical model to ornate his table.
fig. 7 François Perrier Frieze from the Borghese Vase, depicting a train of ecstatic Bacchantes escorting a drunken Silenus, 1645
annibale carracci (1560–1609)
Portrait of an African Woman holding a Clock, c. 1583/85 Oil on canvas 60 cm (23¾ in.) high 39.5 cm (15½ in.) wide provenance Cesare Locatelli (d. 1658), Bologna, mentioned in his 1658 inventory of assets as “no. 110. Meza figura d’una mora … et un horologgio in Mano” (half-figure of a black woman … and a clock in her hand) Carlo Maratti (1625–1713), Rome, mentioned in his 1712 inventory of assets as “ritratto d’una mora che tiene in mano un orologio” (portrait of a black woman holding in her hand a clock) By descent to Faustina Maratti, until acquired by the Spanish Crown through Maratti’s former pupil Andrea Procaccini, 1722 King Philip V of Spain (1683–1746), San Ildefonso Palace, Segovia, 1723 Recorded in the Queen’s Bedchamber, San Ildefonso Palace, Segovia, 1747 By descent until August 1812 Given by the Quartermaster General for the Province of Segovia, Ramón Luis de Escobedo, to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769–1852), August 1812 Private collection, England, until 2005 exhibited Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe, no. 49 The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, USA, October 2012–January 2013; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, USA, February–June 2013 literature The National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc., NAWCC Bulletin, February 2006, vol. XLVIII, no. 360, cover illustration J. Spicer (ed.), Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe, Baltimore, 2012, p. 43 and p. 130, no. 49
This very unusual portrait of an African woman, holding in her right hand a precious, beautifully gilded table-clock (German, around 1550–1600) of hexagonal shape is, in the writer’s opinion, an autograph work by Annibale Carracci. She looks at the viewer with startling self-confidence and commanding directness. She wears an expensive coral necklace and pearl earrings. Her left shoulder, arm and hand are obscured by the right arm of another figure. After the painting’s reappearance in 2005, it was subsequently cleaned, revealing the presence of this other figure on the right of the present canvas – the right arm and shoulder part of the headdress of another woman, who was once the principal figure of the picture. The right arm of the woman, held down slightly diagonally, covers the left arm of the assisting African woman. From October 2012 to January 2013 the picture was exhibited at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore (and subsequently in Princeton) in the exhibition Revealing
the African Presence in Renaissance Europe. Joaneath Spicer, the museum’s curator and author of the catalogue entry, sketched out a reconstruction of the original canvas, which would have been twice as wide and a little higher. The principal figure was probably seen almost frontally, but turned slightly to the left, slightly inwards to the centre, just as the African woman turns slightly to the right, towards her. The stylistic features of the present portrait show in my opinion and in that of Keith Christiansen many signs of the early style of the young Annibale Carracci, c. 1583–85 – the bony structure of the right hand, which, however, is smoothed somewhat by the soft skin, and also the handling, the characteristically broad brushstrokes, the rich, yet dry impasto and the white and beige-brown colours of the garment laid on her shoulders. The same could be said of what remains visible of the principal woman’s dress. One could compare the white collar in the male head in profile in Hampton Court (D. Benati, Annibale Carracci, exh. cat., Bologna, 2006, no. II, 4), which Benati dates to c. 1582–83. Also related are the bony, angular structures of the Boy drinking (versions in Nathan Fine Art, Zurich [Benati 2006, pp. 1583–84] and in the Cleveland Museum of Art, formerly in the collection of the late Peter Sharp [The Age of Correggio and the Carracci, exh. cat., Bologna, New York and Washington, D.C., 1986, p. 264, no. 84]). In the Cleveland version the dry but broad brushwork of the white shirt, sleeves and colouring can be compared. The portrait of a painter in the Lauro collection in Bologna (1583–84; Benati 2006, no. II, 6) could also be compared both for the bony structure of the right hand holding the brush and for the painterly brushstrokes of the white collar. Not least, the famous Bean-eater (Galleria Colonna, Rome) can be compared for the angular folds of the sleeve of the white shirt. One can also compare – for the treatment of the hands – two similar Holy Families, one in Tatton Park (Holy Family with Saint Francis; Benati 2006, pp. 172–73, no. III.20, c. 1585; A. Brogi, Ludovico Carracci, Ozzano Emilia, 2001, R 41, rejected as Ludovico; E. Schleier, ‘Su tre quadri inediti o poco noti di Annibale e di Ludovico Carracci’, Studi di Storia dell’Arte, vol. 13, 2002, p. 125, note 2, fig. 1; Aidan Weston Lewis, review of Benati 2006, The Burlington Magazine, April 2007, p. 259, as by Ludovico) and even more The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John and Saint Elizabeth in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes (see B. Sarrazin, Catalogue raisonné des peintures italiennes du Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, Paris, 1994, p. 178, no. 127; Benati 2006, p. 130, as Annibale). One could mention also, for the treatment of the hands, the Saint Francis praying (Richard Feigen, New York; Benati 2006, no. III.1, c. 1582–83) and the painting of the same subject in the Pinacoteca Capitolina in Rome (Benati 2006, no. III.13), and, for the edges of the broken folds, the red cloak of Saint Jerome (Banca Popolare dell’Emilia-Romagna, Modena; Benati 2006, no. III, 14: 1585[?]). Finally, one may compare the two major altarpieces of those years – Christ crucified with Six Saints,
in Santa Maria della Carità, Bologna (from S. Nicolò di Strada San Felice), dated 1583, for the brushwork of the broken folds of the silky brocade of the cope (pluviale) of Saint Petronius, and, secondly, The Baptism of Christ in San Gregorio, Bologna, dated 1585, but commissioned in 1583, for the treatment of the hands and the brushwork of the garments such as the white shirt or cloak of the youth in the left foreground and the broken folds of the golden-greenish dress of the angel playing the flute in the upper left. erich schleier 27 January 2017
Provenance Annibale Carracci was amongst the most admired painters of his time and a vital force in the creation of the Baroque style. He championed a return to the observation of nature but was also influenced by the great painters of the Northern Italian Renaissance, especially Titian, Correggio and Veronese. During the 1580s, Carracci was painting some of the most radical and innovative pictures in Europe. He introduced a new, broken brushwork technique to represent the effects of light on form and this gave his pictures an extraordinary sense of intimacy and immediacy. Through these means Annibale set the technical and artistic foundations for the work of his near contemporary Caravaggio. Born in Bologna, Annibale initially worked closely alongside his brother Agostino and cousin Ludovico, with whom he established the successful Accademia dei Desiderosi, later known as Accademia degli Incamminati, where great seventeenthcentury masters including Guido Reni and Domenichino were introduced to the art of painting. In 1595 Annibale was summoned to Rome by the influential Cardinal Odoardo Farnese, who commissioned from him a series of frescoes for his palace looking on to Campo de’ Fiori. Whilst in Rome, Annibale’s painting was transformed by his first-hand encounter with classical antiquity and the art of Michelangelo and Raphael, which he absorbed and integrated with his extraordinary feel for the observation of nature and a bold application of paint. Rome’s impact on the Bolognese master is clearly apparent in his frescoes for Palazzo Farnese, illustrating episodes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. These were completed around 1600, but were far from being his sole commissions in the city. Examples include The Crowning of the Virgin (c. 1596; Metropolitan Museum, New York); The Birth of the Virgin (c. 1598–99; Musée du Louvre, Paris); The Pietà (c. 1599–1600; Museo di Capodimonte, Naples); The Three Maries at the Sepulchre (c. 1600; Hermitage, St Petersburg); The Assumption of
the Virgin (c. 1600–01; Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome); and another Pietà (1602/03–07; Musée du Louvre, Paris). In 1605 Annibale fell gravely ill. He died four years later in Rome and was buried in the Pantheon, in the heart of the city. The present painting dates to 1583–85, when Annibale was in Bologna. It is an extremely rare individual portrait of an African woman dating from the late sixteenth century. The sitter, finely dressed, holds the viewer’s gaze with a commanding directness, endowing the picture with great immediacy and intensity of expression. Clearly a likeness observed from life, this painting also has a symbolic dimension. The gilded clock she holds would have been considered an extreme luxury at the time, exhibiting functions of the highest technological order for the period. It is made up of an outer hour ring with Roman numerals, for showing the time, and an inner ring with faint indications of Arabic numerals, suggesting that the clock also had an alarm function. It even appears to have been equipped with touch pieces for telling the time at night. The clock therefore exists not just as an audacious display of wealth but also as a clear signifier of the sitter’s, or patron’s, modernity. The clock also functions as a momento mori, a signifier of the passing of time and the transience of life. Parallel to this, the clock was also an attribute of Temperance, one of the four cardinal virtues alongside Justice, Prudence and Fortitude, which suggests the symbolic meaning of our picture may be two-fold. As discovered by Dr Rachel McGarry, the earliest record of this painting dates to 1658, when it was listed in the collection of the Bolognese nobleman and connoisseur Cesare Locatelli, which comprised almost four hundred works. His inventory reads “a half-figure of a black woman with a dead head and a clock in her hand”. The reference to a “dead head” is probably the result of as a mistake on the note-taker’s part, who understood what was actually a reference to a cut head, being the cut figure of the other sitter now missing, as a dead person’s head. Locatelli’s status as a keen collector and his location in Bologna, where the portrait was executed, together with the unique nature of the painting’s subject, all suggest there is no doubt the reference applies to the present portrait. The canvas next appears in the 1712 inventory of the painter Carlo Maratti in Rome (1625–1713), listed as “Portrait of a black woman holding a clock”, yet again an unmistakable description of the present work. Here, the missing central figure is referred to as “another head cut” (“Un quadro di grandezza di testa, rappresentante un ritratto d’una mora che tiene in mano un orologio, con altra testa tagliata”). When these fragmentary features of the other sitter were painted out is not documented, although it is probable that this happened between 1712 and 1722. The “ritratto d’una mora” was amongst the 124 paintings acquired by the Spanish Crown in 1722 from Faustina Maratti, through Maratti’s disciple Andrea Procaccini (Rome 1671–1734), who was painter to King Philip V of Spain and in charge of decorating the
new palace that the monarch was having built outside the court, the Real Sitio de la Granja de San Ildefonso (the San Ildefonso Palace, in Segovia). In the inventory of the sale the picture is listed under no. 176 as “Una Mora con un orologio” (A black woman with a clock), leading us to believe that it was a portrait of a single figure. The Maratti collection arrived in Barcelona around February 1723 and was presently sent to the King’s new residence. There, the portrait is recorded in the various inventories taken of the royal furniture throughout the eighteenth century, including the comprehensive posthumous inventory of the King’s possessions from 1747. It states that the portrait was in the Queen’s antechamber, together with works by Domenichino, Agostino Carracci, Philips Wouwerman and Rosa da Tivoli. It remained in this room until Sir Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (Dublin 1769–Walmer Castle 1852) stayed at San Ildefonso during the Peninsular War. It appears the Duke expressed an interest in a series of paintings, which the Quartermaster General for the province of Segovia, Ramón Luis de Escobedo, then presented to him as a gift. One of the twelve paintings was the present portrait: “Crate no. 3: … a Negress with a gilt clock in her hands” (see C.M. Kauffmann, revised by S. Jenkins, Catalogue of Paintings in the Wellington Museum, Apsley House, London, 2009, p. 10).
related literature The Age of Correggio and the Carracci: Emilian Painting of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, exh. cat., The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1986 D. Posner, Annibale Carracci: A Study in the Reform of Italian Painting Around 1590, 2 vols., London, 1971
Appendix – Inventories I. Bologna, the Collection of Cesare Locatelli, 1658. 110. Meza figura d’una mora con una Testa di morto, et un horologgio in Mano con Cornice negra mez.o ASBO, Notaio Melega Marco, 1625–1660, Minutario 1658, fol. 41v bibliography Raffaella Morselli, Anna Cera Sones, Collezioni e quadrerie nella Bologna del Seicento: inventari 1640–1707, vol. III, pp. 271–78 and 282 II. Rome, the Collection of Carlo Maratti, 1712. Un quadro di grandezza di testa, rappresentante un ritratto d’una mora che tiene in mano un orologio, con altra testa tagliata; et è dipinto da Titiano con cornice bianca. Rome, State Archive. Not. A.C. Francischinus, Franciscus; vol. 3.267. bibliography Romeo Galli, ‘I tesori d’arte di un pittori del Seicento (Carlo Maratta)’, L’Archigimnasio, 1927, pp. 217–38; 1928, pp. 59–78; David L. Bershad, ‘The newly discovered testament and inventories of Carlo Maratti and his wife Francesca’, Antologia di Belle Arti, 1985, pp. 65–84, at p. 73 III. Rome, sale of paintings by Faustina Maratti to King Philip V of Spain, 1723. 176. Vna Mora con un orologio mano di Tiziano Simancas (Valladolid), General Archive of Simancas. State Section, file 4.807. bibliography P. de Nolhac, ‘Variedades: Nota delli Quadri, che si ritrouano nella cassa de Maratti, per la Maestá de Filippo Quinto’, Revista de Archivos, Bibliotecas y Museos, vi, 1876, pp. 128–29 and 143–44, at p. 144; E. Battisti, ‘Postille documentarie su artisti italiani a Madrid e sulla collezione Maratta’, Arte Antica e Moderna, no. 9, 1960, pp. 77–89, at p. 89; Ángel Aterido, ‘No sólo aspas y lises: señas de las colecciones de pinturas de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio’, in Ángel Aterido, Juan Martínez Cuesta and José J. Pérez, Inventarios Reales. Colecciones de pinturas de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio, Madrid, Foundation in Support of Hispanic Art, 2004, vol. I, pp. 25–310, at p. 99 IV. Palace of la Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia. Collection of King Philip V. 1747. 107. X otra Pintura origl en Lienzo, de mano de Ticiano, qe representa una Negra con un Relox en las manos. tiene dos tercias, y un dedo de alto; y media vara de ancho. Marco dorado con targetas como el antecedente .... 1 [57.46 × 41.79 cm approximately]1 General Archive of the Royal Palace in Madrid. Royal Sites Section, San Ildefonso, box 13.568. Inventory of paintings at the Palace of San Ildefonso, fol. 9v. bibliography Ángel Aterido, Juan Martínez Cuesta and José J. Pérez, Inventarios Reales. Colecciones de pinturas de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio, Madrid, Foundation in Support of Hispanic Art, 2004, vol. II, p. 15.
V. Palace of la Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia. Inventory of the goods of Charles III. 1794. 107. Otra en lienzo de Dos pies de ancho, por dos y tres quartos de alto marco dorado con talla en las esquinas, representa una negra con un relox en las manos en seiscientos reales .... 600.2 Madrid, General Archive of the Royal Palace. Inventory of Charles III. bibliography Inventarios Reales. Carlos III. 1789, Madrid, National Heritage, 1989, vol. II, p. 231. VI. Paintings given by the Quartermaster General of Segovia, Ramón Luis Escobedo, to the Duke of Wellington on 15 August 1812, following his stay at San Ildefonso Palace. Case 3: ... Otra: una Negra con un relox dorado en las manos3 Madrid, General Archive of the Royal Palace. Historical Section, box 129. bibliography Ángel Aterido, ‘No sólo aspas y lises: señas de las colecciones de pinturas de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio’, in Ángel Aterido, Juan Martínez Cuesta and José J. Pérez, Inventarios Reales. Colecciones de pinturas de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio, Madrid, Foundation in Support of Hispanic Art, 2004, vol. I, pp. 25–310, at p. 290; transcribed in note 192
notes 1 Another original painting on canvas, by the hand of Tiziano, representing a black woman holding a clock. Measuring two tercias and one dedo high, and half a varo wide. Gold frame with targetas as above 2 Another canvas measuring two feet wide, by two and three quarters high gold frame engraved at the corners, representing a black woman holding a clock 3 Other: A black woman holding a gold clock.
franois girardon (1628–1715)
The Abduction of Proserpina Bronze, rich olive patina with extensive traces of original lacquer 105 cm (41½ in.) high provenance Possibly Vaudreuil collection sale, 26 November 1787, lot 184 Whence D’Espagnac-Tricot collection Their sale, 22 May 1793, lot 192 (sold 2,350 livres to Haudiq) literature A. Maral, Girardon, le sculpteur de Louis XIV, Paris, 2015, pp. 428, 450, 511, illus. p. 449
The greatest French sculptor of his day, François Girardon was crucial to the birth of the classical style of academic sculpture that took centre stage during the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV, and would influence generations of artists to come in France and beyond. Having completed his training in both Paris and Rome, in 1657 Girardon was formally accepted into the Académie Royale, where his morceau de réception was a marble oval medallion of The Virgin of Sorrows (now Musée du Louvre). His importance as France’s leading sculptor is evident in two highly prestigious commissions, one for the funerary monument to Cardinal de Richelieu in the Chapel of the Sorbonne, Paris (begun 1675), the other for the monumental bronze equestrian statue of the King in Roman armour (1683–92) made for the Place Louis le Grand in Paris (now Place Vendôme), destroyed during the French Revolution. Highly successful throughout his career, under royal patronage Girardon executed important sculptural groups for both the Louvre and Versailles residences, and rapidly rose through the ranks of the Académie, where he was made Chancellor in 1695. Girardon’s academic training and studies in Rome permeated his work with a deeply rooted classicism that transcended the more ornate Baroque style of his contemporaries, drawing instead parallels with ancient statuary, especially after Hellenistic models, and the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) and Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665), which the young Girardon had been able to admire extensively during his stay in the papal city. A further source of inspiration for our artist was doubtlessly the Flemish master Giambologna (1529–1608), court sculptor to the Medici Grand Dukes in Florence, whose reinterpretation of classical models – similarly to Girardon’s – combined the solemn splendour of antiquity with the emotional verve and dramatic sense of space of the Italian High Renaissance. The bronze presented here is an autograph cast of one of Girardon’s most spectacular and sophisticated compositions, famously also executed in marble for the planned, yet never completed, Parterre d’Eau in the gardens at Versailles. Both an homage to two of the most celebrated masterpieces of previous generations – Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Woman in the Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence (finished in 1583) and Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s own portrayal of the Abduction of Proserpina,
dating to 1622 (Galleria Borghese, Rome) – and a bold statement of intent, this tour de force by Girardon depicts the moment in ancient mythology when the god Pluto abducts Proserpina and carries her off to his reign – the underworld – to become his wife, as recounted in Book V of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The marble version, completed by Girardon in 1699, had been commissioned by King Louis XIV by 1677, as part of a series of four monumental abduction groups meant to symbolize the Four Elements, with the present composition representing fire through Pluto’s connection with Hades. The present bronze represents a major addition to Girardon’s oeuvre, and more specifically to the study of his Proserpina compositions, as it has been identified as his earliest bronze cast of this subject. Indeed our sculpture differs from the known versions in one significant detail: it is cast in one piece, whilst the others are all section cast. This suggests that the master first attempted a single cast for the composition, as is generally accepted to be the customary practice for primary examples, opting in later versions for piece-mould casts due to the group’s elaborate structure. The vivacity of Proserpina’s outstretched arms and the overall meticulous detailing of the forms, from the muscular anatomies to the flowing robes, enable the viewer fully to understand the monumentality of Girardon’s endeavour. Primary sources record that, before finishing the marble statue, Girardon received payment for a bronze cast of the Abduction for the Sun King in 1693 (Comptes, III, 853–54), whilst two further casts of the same subject appear in the artist’s posthumous inventory of 1715 (nos. 214 and 230). Documentary evidence indicates the example from the French royal collection is now held by the Versailles museum (98 cm high), and it has been argued that the two formerly in Girardon’s own collection are those now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg (107.5 cm high), and in the Heckscher Museum in Huntington, New York (108 cm high). Both are signed, as is a third version now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (106.5 cm high). Our Abduction of Proserpina therefore constitutes not only a highly important, but also a unique cast in Girardon’s production, closely related to one of his principal royal commissions. In stylistic terms, our version is consistent with the master’s known working practice, as it is closely comparable to that in Strasbourg, especially in the modelling of the rockwork base, and it is formed of an alloy and core very similar to those of the Getty sculpture. Most importantly, the composition epitomizes the expression of the artist’s already mature, confident and fully formed understanding of classical vocabulary through the lesson of the Italian Baroque, re-interpreted in his distinctively individual language. The main viewpoint focuses on the vigorous movement of Pluto, who seizes Proserpina while striding across her companion Cyane. The god’s countenance is resolute and unperturbed, his body steadfast and upright. By contrast, Proserpina’s figure forms a sinuous, agitated line that mirrors
fig. 1 Nicolas Chevalier, after René Charpentier La Galerie de Girardon, plate VI (detail), no. 2 Etching and engraving
her internal turmoil. This movement, together with Proserpina’s turned head, also invites the viewer’s gaze to explore the bronze further, from new angles, both towards the sides and towards the crouching Cyane. In other words, Girardon’s sculpture is conceived to unfold gradually before the eyes of the beholder, a symphony of dynamism and balance, might and grace, embodied by Pluto and Proserpina. This bronze is presented with a summary of X-ray analysis and an XRF data sheet, confirming it is cast in one piece and that its dating is consistent with Girardon’s lifetime. The attribution to Girardon and its dating have been confirmed by Dr Alexandre Maral, curator of sculpture at the Château de Versailles, in his recent monograph on Girardon.
related literature Europäische Barockplastik am Niederrhein: Grupello und seine Zeit, exh. cat., Kunstmuseum, Dusseldorf, 1971, no. 334, pp. 368–69, pl. 215 F. Souchal, ‘La Collection du Sculpteur Girardon d’aprés son Inventaire après décès’, Gazette des Beaux Arts, lxxxii, 1973, pp. 1–112 F. Souchal, French Sculptors of the 17th and 18th Centuries: The Reign of Louis XIV, Oxford, 1981–93, vol. II, no. 42, pp. 41–43, and supplementary vol., London, 1993, no. 42, pp. 102–04 G. Bresc-Bautier and G. Scherf (eds.), Cast in Bronze, French Sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution, exh. cat., Musée du Louvre, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and The J.P. Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2009, no. 68
sir anthony van dyck (1599–1641)
Profile head study for The Raising of the Cross, 1631 Oil on panel 39.3 cm (15½ in.) high 30.6 cm (12 in.) wide provenance W.E. Duits, London, 1935, as “Sir Anthony van Dyck”
This powerful head study, arranged in sharp profile, is a sketch for one of the figures in The Raising of the Cross altarpiece painted by Anthony van Dyck for the cathedral of Courtrai, or Kortrijk, in West Flanders (fig. 1). The artist received payment for this monumental canvas on 20 May 1631, which offers a precise terminus ante quem for the execution of our panel. The free, impressionistic handling of the brush and fluid, fine application of the paint all indicate this work was intended as a preparatory study, of the kind Van Dyck is documented painting at different stages in his career (for a selection of early head studies see nos. 87 to 124 and for head studies contemporary to the present one see nos. 659, 662, 666, 675, 681 in Larsen 1988, vol. II). Looking up towards the dying Christ, our figure’s intense, contemplative stare is beautifully described by Van Dyck, who shadows the eyes thus suggesting depth and creating a contrast with the rosier tones of the skin. The silver curls of the hair and beard are executed in a variety of hues, which imply the reflection of light – especially the white highlights – and a sense of movement. Tonal gradation is also central to the rendering of the figure’s complexion, lighter around the temples and more vivid towards the
figs. 1 & 2 Sir Anthony van Dyck The Raising of the Cross, 1631 (and detail) Cathedral of Courtrai (Kortrijk), West Flanders
finely contoured tip of the nose and edge of the forehead. Van Dyck must have been pleased with this subtly observed study, as he used it a second time, for the figure of the kneeling unbeliever in Saint Anthony of Padua’s Miracle of the Host, painted for the Church of Récollets in Lille (Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille). As Horst Vey commented, “The unbeliever’s head is so like that of the bearded executioner in the Raising of the Cross that the same study clearly served for both” (S.J. Barnes et al., 2004, p. 276, under no. III.39). The son of a wealthy merchant from Antwerp, Anthony van Dyck was apprenticed at about the age of ten in the workshop of the local painter Hendrick van Balen (1575–1632), and by the age of seventeen was already working independently. In 1618 he was admitted into Antwerp’s Guild of Saint Luke, and began working with the wellestablished master Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), whose style so critically influenced Van Dyck’s own. Of their relationship the contemporary biographer Giovan Pietro Bellori (1613–1696) wrote: “They say that Rubens … made a good one hundred florins a day from the labours of Anthony, who gained much more his Master, namely the treasure of art” (“Dicesi che il Rubens … veniva a cavare ben cento fiorini il giorno dalle fatiche di Antonio, il quale molto più ritraheva dal Maestro, che era il tesoro dell’arte”: Le Vite de’ Pittori, Scultori ed Architetti Moderni, Rome, 1672, edn of 1728, p. 151). This is visible in the increasingly vivid, brilliant palette Van Dyck adopted towards the end of the 1610s, alongside bolder compositional arrangements, as in his Saint Martin and the Beggar (c. 1618, parish church, Zaventem) and Drunken Silenus (1620, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden). In Antwerp, parallel to religious and history paintings Van Dyck also received commissions for portraits, a genre in which he would come to excel. Early examples include Cornelis van der Geest (c. 1620, National Gallery, London) and the pendant portraits of Frans Snyders and his wife Margareta de Vos (c. 1620, Frick Collection, New York). Each likeness, beautifully captured, already displays Van Dyck’s incredible ability to combine his sitters’ individuality with the expression of their role and status within society. His technique, moreover, is exquisite, with bold, unerring brushstrokes and enamel-like glazes expertly describing different surfaces and textures, from the gleam of Van der Geest’s penetrating eyes to the lustrous reflections on the glass vase behind de Vos. Towards the end of 1620 Van Dyck was for a brief period in London, at the behest of the Earl of Arundel and having been awarded a pension of £100 by King James I. The young painter, however, had other plans, and in 1621 he set off for Genoa, then an independent republic and one of Italy’s wealthiest, most resplendent cities. He remained there until 1627, meanwhile travelling to Rome, Venice, Florence, Palermo and beyond. In Italy Van Dyck perfected his technique and further developed an individual pictorial language, quickly becoming one of the most sought-after foreign
artists in the peninsula. His portraits of the Genoese aristocracy, altarpieces for the churches of Palermo and representations of members of the papal court all display a painter in full command of his means, capable of grand compositional and colour arrangements. He absorbed the lesson of Venetian colouring and fine expressivity, which he had already encountered through the lens of Rubens, and the Northern edges of his vocabulary were smoothed by the example of Italian masters past and present. Notable works from this period include the Portrait of Agostino Pallavicini – enveloped in a spectacularly rendered triumph of crimson fabric, his ambassadorial robe – now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (c. 1621); the fulllength, grandiosely dressed Marchesa Elena Grimaldi Cattaneo in the National Gallery, Washington, D.C. (1623); the Genoese Noblewoman in the Frick Collection, New York (c. 1625–27); the Saint Rosalie Interceding for the Plague-stricken of Palermo (Metropolitan Museum, New York) and The Madonna of the Rosary (Oratorio del Rosario, Palermo), both painted in Sicily in 1624 (the latter was completed three years later in Genoa); and the Portrait of Cardinal Guido Bentivoglio, “a tour de force of elegance and grace” executed in Rome in 1623 (Galleria Palatina at Palazzo Pitti, Florence). In 1627 Van Dyck returned to Antwerp, where, facilitated by Rubens’s absence, he received a steady flow of important commissions, both secular and religious. These compositions feature emphatic gestures, of Rubensian memory, paired with an elegance of touch and brilliant palette developed in Italy. Portraiture remained a central focus of his production, now signalling a shift from the eloquent stateliness and grandeur of his Italian sitters to the more private, restrained dimension of his Flemish patrons. Five years later, in 1632, Van Dyck was again summoned to London, this time at the behest of King Charles I (1600–1649). He was to remain there almost uninterruptedly until his death in 1641, the most influential and respected artist at court. His portraits of the King, his family and circle, and of the aristocracy at large represent some of the greatest achievements in the genre and influenced British art for generations to come. The attribution of the present painting to Sir Anthony van Dyck has been confirmed by Dr Christopher Brown – who confirms it is a study for the Courtrai altarpiece – upon first-hand inspection and by Dr Horst Vey on the basis of photographs.
related literature E. Larsen, The Paintings of Anthony van Dyck, 2 vols, Freren, 1988 S.J. Barnes, N. de Poorter, O. Millar and H. Vey, Van Dyck: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, New Haven and London, 2004
jean-antoine houdon (1741–1828)
Portrait bust of Christine Boyer (1771–1800), c. 1800–03 White marble 67.5 cm (26½ in.) high 41 cm (16 in.) wide provenance Collection of Lucien Bonaparte (1775–1840), France and Italy By descent to his daughter, Charlotte Bonaparte (1795–1865), wife of Mario Gabrielli, Prince of Prossedi (1773–1841), Rome Given to her cousin Charlotte Bonaparte (1832–1901), wife of Pietro Primoli, Count of Foglia (1821–1883), Rome By descent to Giusepppe Napoleone Primoli, Count of Foglia (1851–1927), Rome and Paris Baron Napoléon Gourgaud (1881–1944), Paris Baron Coudein, Île d’Aix, France exhibited Exposition rétrospective de portraits de femmes sous les trois Républiques, Palais de Bagatelle, Paris, 1909, no. 110, ill. p. 27 Exposition du centenaire de Houdon, Galeries Buvelot, Paris, 1928, no. 5, ill. p. 26 literature A.R., ‘Un portrait de Madame Lucien Bonaparte par le baron Gros’, Gazette des BeauxArts, 1895, II, p. 336 G. Giacometti, Le Statuaire Jean-Antoine Houdon et son époque, 1741–1828, 3 vols., Paris, 1918, vol. 2, p. 4, no. 22, p. 34, p. 81 G. Giacometti, La vie et l’œuvre de Houdon, Paris, 1929, p. 18 F. Boyer, ‘Les œuvres d’artistes français au Musée Napoléonien de Rome’, Bulletin de la Société d’Histoire de l’Art Français, 1929, p. 105 F. Boyer, ‘Le Musée Napoléonien de Rome’, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1930, vol. 3, p. 265 L. Réau, Houdon, 1930, p. 124, no. 87 E. Maillard, Houdon, Paris, 1931, p. 59 L. Réau, Houdon, sa vie et son œuvre, Paris 1964, vol. 1, pp. 456–57; vol. 2, pp. 47–48, no. 214, ill. pl. CXVII G. Hubert, La sculpture dans l’Italie Napoléonienne, 1964, p. 112, note 4 J.H. Rubin, ‘La Sépulture romantique de Christine Boyer et son portrait par AntoineJean Gros’, Revue du Louvre et des Musées de France, no. 1, 1975, pp. 8, 18, 20, no. 6, fig. 3 M. Natoli (ed.), Luciano Bonaparte le sue collezioni d’arte, le sue residenze a Roma, nel Lazio, in Italia (1804–1840), Rome, 1995, p. 269 M. Fields Denton, ‘Gros’ Portrait de Christine Boyer and Schall’s “Pensée sur la brièveté de la vie”’, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, September 1996, p. 107 B. Edelein-Badie, La collection de tableaux de Lucien Bonaparte, prince de Canino, Paris, 1997, pp. 29, 197–98, 329 G. Gorgone, ‘Un inventario ritrovato: la “galerie de famille” di Luciano Bonaparte’, Bollettino dei Musei Comunali di Roma, XVIII, 2004, p. 111 A. Poulet (ed.), Jean-Antoine Houdon: Sculptor of the Enlightenment, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and Musée national du Château de Versailles et de Trianon, Versailles, 2003–04, p. 316 M.T. Carracciolo (ed.), Lucien Bonaparte. Un home libre, exh. cat., Palais Fesch-Musée des Beaux-Arts, Ajaccio, 2010, p. 35, under no. 1, p. 215
A son of the Age of Enlightenment, Jean-Antoine Houdon closely witnessed some of the most significant events in European history, from the French Revolution to the rise and fall of Napoleon, relentlessly capturing with his hands and chisel the likenesses and spirit of its foremost protagonists. He was born in Versailles in 1741 to a member of the comte de Lamotte’s household. In 1749, the comte’s residence was leased to the Crown to serve as an École des élèves protégés, a school for the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture’s most talented pupils. As Houdon’s father retained his post in the house, the young Jean-Antoine became familiar with painting and sculpture from a very early stage in his life, a coincidence that certainly proved significant. In 1756, by then a student at the Académie, Houdon won the third prize for sculpture and a few years later, in 1761, he won the first prize for a bas-relief representing King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Thanks to this he was able to enter the École des élèves protégés, where he studied until 1764, when, upon winning the prestigious Prix de Rome, he set off for the Eternal City. As his fellowship prescribed, in Rome Houdon dedicated himself to the study and reproduction of classical models, producing works such as The Vestal (known in several versions) and a (now lost) Centaur. Religious and genre subjects also interested him, as testified by his Peasant Girl of Frascati (plaster, Schlossmuseum, Gotha), his écorché Man (plaster, École des Beaux-Arts, Paris), his Saint Bruno (Santa Maria degli Angeli, Rome), his monumental plaster Head of Saint John the Baptist (destroyed 1894) and his Priest of the Lupercalia (plaster, Schlossmuseum, Gotha). These early works already display considerable talent, and express a deep understanding of classicism paired with a close observation of human anatomy and emotion. These characteristics were to inform all of Houdon’s prolific career, including, most notably, his portraiture, the body of works he is certainly most renowned for. Curiously, no portrait survives from the artist’s Roman years, the first such dated and identified commission being his bust of Denis Diderot – the philosopher, encyclopaedist and father of the French Enlightenment – exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1771, three years after Houdon had returned from Rome (unidentified busts are recorded at the 1769 Salon). Diderot’s likeness reveals an artist in excellent control of his medium, expertly bringing together the lessons of classicism – visible in the appropriation of the Roman portrait bust formula – with his own idiosyncratic vocabulary. As noted by the scholar Hjorvardur Harvard Arnason in his monograph on Houdon, the Diderot bust’s “twist of the head, angled from the torso, the slightly parted lips, and the wide, penetrating eyes, give to the work a marvellous quality of alertness and immediacy”, characteristics that “become personal signatures of the sculptor” (The Sculptures of Houdon, 1975, p. 20). Other such traits are, for example, the hair, which Houdon models “lightly and freely” to suggest “a texture that might yield to the touch”, and the “deeply undercut eyes”.
The Diderot represents a milestone in Houdon’s career, not only because it encapsulates all the qualities that would come to define his production, but also because the young artist’s encounter with the acclaimed philosopher proved crucial to his success. Thanks to the sitter’s fame the bust received unprecedented attention from the public and, thanks to his connections, Houdon came into contact with a range of many remarkable prospective patrons. These included Baron Friedrich Melchior Grimm, the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha, King Frederick the Great of Prussia, Empress Catherine the Great of Russia and Count Stroganov, from all of whom Houdon received commissions over the next few decades. By this point, Houdon had come to the fore as one of the most promising sculptors of the age, and, as befitted his status as a membre agréé of the Académie (1769), in March 1772 he installed himself in one of the ateliers in the Faubourg du Roule. He exhibited regularly at the Salon and cultivated the patronage of the highest echelons of society, as demonstrated by his portraits of the Marquis of Miromesnil, shown in his magisterial robe and wig; of the acclaimed musician Christoph Willibald Gluck; of the great writers Molière, Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau; and of fashionable dames such as Madame de la Houze, the comtesse de Cayla and Madame Adélaïde and Madame Victoire, the two daughters of King Louis XV. In 1777 he was fully received as an Academician and became affiliated with the Masonic Lodge of the Nine Sisters (a reference to the Nine Muses), a major meeting-point for artists and men of letters. This led to his acquaintance with Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, whom Houdon would accompany to America in 1785 and portray in an image that has since become iconic. In the New World Houdon also met Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and author of the Declaration of Independence, an encounter that resulted in Houdon’s monument to George Washington now in the Capitol. The sculptor returned to Paris the following year, in 1786, and his career progressed from one success to another. The turmoil of the Revolution, which broke out in 1789, temporarily disrupted the workings of the Académie, but, far from feeling discouraged, Houdon sought new patrons, including the financier Jacques Necker and the astronomer and politician Jean-Sylvain Bailly – two exponents of the more moderate and initially successful Revolutionary faction – both of whom he sculpted in 1790. Two years later, Houdon was named adjunct professor at the reorganized Académie and was assigned lodgings in the Cour du Louvre. In 1793, the year of the so-called Reign of Terror, the academies were suppressed and Houdon was ordered out of his new quarters (which he refused to leave). The ever-resourceful artist then offered the new Jacobin government versions of his busts of Voltaire, Rousseau and Franklin, which were warmly received by the Lycée Republicain. Following the fall of Robespierre and his Jacobin faction in July 1794, the Girondins formed a new
government, known as the Directoire, and approved a new constitution. This heralded a period of relative stability, until, in November 1799, the young general Napoléon Bonaparte sealed his dazzling ascent to power with the Coup d’état de Brumaire, proclaiming himself First Consul of France. Throughout the years of Napoleonic rule Houdon continued exhibiting at the Salon and receiving prominent commissions. His style, unchanged at its core, adapted to an extent to the demands of Imperial idealization and aggrandizement, as exemplified by his documented portraits of Bonaparte. The first, showing him as Consul, has disappeared, whilst the second is immortalized in a painting by Boilly (c. 1802, now Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris) depicting Houdon in his studio in the act of modelling it. The third, a terracotta dated 1806 now in Dijon, represents the Emperor undraped, fully frontal and in herm format. The fourth portrait of the Emperor, in marble, was presented at the Salon of 1808 together with a pendant bust of his consort. Notably, another portrayal of Houdon by Boilly, also in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (inv. Pe63), features a model for the present bust, propped on a shelf lined with other plasters and terracottas. A remarkable likeness, our portrait represents Catherine Éléonore Boyer, known as Christine, the first wife of Lucien Bonaparte (1775–1840), Napoleon’s second brother. It was commissioned from Houdon by Lucien himself and treasured by the family for generations afterwards. Christine and Lucien had met in her hometown of Saint-Maximin in Provence, where he had moved in late summer 1793, and they were married the following year. She was the daughter of his landlord, Pierre André Boyer, a local of Saint-Maximin, or Marathon, as the town was known during the Revolutionary years. Tall and svelte, Christine is always described as an agreeable personality by contemporary sources, and her portraits show an attractive woman, always elegantly dressed in the latest fashion. She died in May 1800 and Lucien was grief-stricken for long afterwards. He maintained a connection with Christine’s family for many years and her brother André Boyer was part of his household during the Italian exile (see M. Simonetta and N. Arikha, Napoleon and the Rebel, New York, 2011, p. 222). Lucien was born in Ajaccio, Corsica, on 21 May 1775, the third of Charles Bonaparte and Letizia Ramolino’s eight children. Educated alongside his oldest brother Joseph (1768–1844) at the Collège d’Autun, he joined his second brother Napoleon (1769–1821) at the military school in Brienne. Later on, Lucien was sure that his brother’s lack of warmth at this time must have contributed to his own reluctance as an adult to bend the knee before him (M. Simonetta and N. Arikha, Napoleon and the Rebel, New York, 2011, p. 11: “Je crois que c’est à ma première impression de ce caractère de ce frère que je dois la répugnance que j’ai toujours éprouvé à fléchir devant lui” (I think it is to my first impression of that aspect of that brother that I owe the repulsion I always
felt towards kneeling before him; quoted in the original French in L. Martineau, Lucien Bonaparte, prince de Canino, Paris, 1989, p. 14). Unsuited to a military career, Lucien was sent to the seminary in Aix-en-Provence, but after two years he returned to Ajaccio for financial reasons. He abandoned his ambition of an ecclesiastical career quickly and began to take an interest in politics. In August 1793, Lucien had been made keeper of supplies to the army in the small town of Saint-Maximin, a secure source of income at a time of great turmoil generally, and of poverty especially for his mother Letizia and five younger siblings, who had become refugees in France, having fled from Ajaccio. On 4 May of the following year (15 Floréal, Year II of the Revolutionary calendar), Lucien married Christine Boyer without his family’s approval, using his older brother Joseph’s birth certificate as he was still under age. Their first child, Filistine Charlotte, was born in 1795. In the next few years, the young family moved around as Lucien’s career in the military administration progressed, until, in 1798, he was elected to the Council of the Five Hundred and moved to Paris in June of that year. On 28 August Lucien bought a property at Le Plessis Chamant near Senlis, north of Paris. Lucien played a significant role as President of the Council of the Five Hundred during the coup d’état of 10 November (19 Brumaire, Year VIII in the Revolutionary calendar), after which his brother Napoleon effectively took over power. On 25 December of the same year, Lucien was appointed Minister for the Interior including responsibility for the arts. Christine died on 14 May 1800 and Lucien was distraught. Lucien resigned from his ministerial position after a confrontation with his brother in November 1800 and was appointed French ambassador to Madrid shortly afterwards. He stayed in the Spanish capital with his eldest daughter until July 1801. Christina Egypta, born in 1798, remained in Paris with a governess. At the end of June 1802 Lucien met Alexandrine de Bleschamp (1778–1855), who was to become his second wife despite strong opposition from Napoleon. This alliance was to be the cause of the final break between the two brothers and the reason for Lucien’s departure in exile to Italy in 1804. In 1806, he bought Palazzo Nuñez in Rome and a country house, La Ruffinella, near Frascati, and also acquired lands at Canino, not far from Viterbo. Lucien was made Prince of Canino by Pope Pius VII in 1814 and was to reside in Italy for most of the remaining years of his life. He died in Viterbo in June 1840. When Joseph Lucien Bonaparte, Alexandrine and Lucien’s third son, died at the age of one in August 1807, Lucien ordered a tomb for him. At about the same time, he commissioned memorial sculptures of his father and first wife from Joseph-Charles Marin (1759–1834). Christine Boyer is depicted as Melancholy. Originally conceived for the Jesuit church in Frascati, these sculptures are all now in the Bonaparte family chapel in the church at Canino (see G. Hubert, La Sculpture dans l’Italie Napoléonienne,
Paris, 1964, p. 111). After Christine’s death on 14 May 1800, Lucien had plunged into a period of melancholy that ended only when Napoleon forced him to return to Paris and his political duties. In a letter to Juliette Récamier, Lucien wrote: I received your letter, Julie. I am back in the country. I have only come here for the funereal and deep pleasure of sitting on the tomb of the best of women, of reading and crying over those words I have had inscribed on her tombstone: amante, épouse, mère sans reproche [lover, wife, irreproachable mother]. I needed this trip: I shall make it each month. If, Julie, you had known well the one who rests at Plessis, you would have loved her like a sister. She was without faults .... All my private happiness has, I believe, vanished with her; I was loved too much to be loved again (M. Simonetta and N. Arikha, Napoleon and the Rebel, New York, 2011, p. 64). Lucien’s first known artistic commission was a portrait of Christine, standing next to a memorial to their daughter Victorine, who had died in 1797 shortly after birth, executed by the painter Jacques Sablet (B. Edelein-Badie, La Collection de tableaux de Lucien Bonaparte, prince de Canino, Paris, 1997, p. 26). The death of his beloved first wife in 1800 led to the commission of other pictures, most famously two portraits by Gros, c. 1800 and 1803, respectively of Christine and of her two daughters Charlotte and Christina next to her tomb (Portrait of Christine Boyer, Paris, Musée du Louvre, RF 383, and The Daughters of Lucien and Christine Bonaparte next to their Mother’s Tomb, Rome, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro). Lucien’s sculpture collection reflected this focus on his close family circle, and his profound love for his first wife and daughters. The present portrait bust by Houdon was originally placed beside Christine’s tomb in the garden at Plessis Chamant, where it is visible in a print published by Alexandre de Laborde in his Description des Nouveaux Jardins de la France et de ses Anciens Châteaux Mêlée d’Observations sur la Vie de la campagne et la Composition des Jardins (1808). This illustration shows Lucien and Christine’s two daughters in the foreground, standing next to a classical stele and watching a bird feeding her young chicks, a touching reminder of the girls’ loss. Lucien can be seen sitting to the left, his pose melancholic. In the centre of the composition, behind the young girls, the Houdon sculpture of Christine Boyer is clearly visible (fig. 1). Our marble therefore began its existence as part of a commemorative monument, of the type that came to be predominant at the turn of the century, reflecting changes in memorial sculpture. Indeed, within the context of post-Revolutionary France mourning rituals were being transformed. In the first years of the Revolution, after the abolishment of the Church, burials took place in mass graves without ceremony.
fig. 1 Alexandre de Laborde Description des Nouveaux Jardins de la France …, Paris, 1808, pl. 68, illustrating Christine Boyer’s funerary monument at PlessisChamand
Conscious of the void this caused for many, Lucien’s Ministry of the Interior created new regulations and ceremonies to replace the old religious ones. The new concept of mourning was shaped by an emphasis on religious neutrality and concentration on the individual rather than on the community. The physical context for death and mourning was moved from the Church of the Ancien Régime or the mass grave of the Revolutionary period to the garden landscape. The monument to Christine was dismantled after Lucien moved to Italy and Plessis-Chamant was sold (Rubin 1975, p. 18, no. 5). Christine’s remains were transferred to the local church at Chamant, whilst the bust was sent to Italy, where it joined the galerie de famille, a collection of family portraits (Gorgone 2004, pp. 89–95). Our bust is among the sixteen sculptures mentioned in the inventory of this collection, drawn up by Lucien and copied in 1898 by Giuseppe Primoli (see Gorgone, ‘La galerie de famille de Lucien Bonaparte. Nouveaux éléments pour une reconstruction’, in 1775–1840 Lucien Bonaparte. Un homme libre, exh. cat., Palais FeschMusée des Beaux-Arts, Ajaccio, 2010, pp. 211–19). Giuseppe Primoli (1851–1927) was the son of Charlotte Bonaparte and Count Pietro Primoli. Charlotte’s mother was the daughter of Charles-Lucien, a son of Lucien from his second marriage to Alexandrine de Bleschamp, and of Zénaïde, a daughter of Joseph Bonaparte. She was thus the daughter of first cousins and doubly a Bonaparte. Giuseppe Primoli and his brother Luigi assembled an important collection related to the history of their family, much of which forms the core of the holdings of the Museo Napoleonico in Rome today. Of the known portraits of Christine Boyer, only the painting by Sablet was definitely painted during her lifetime, as it was first exhibited at the Paris Salon of
1799. The portrait attributed to Jean-Frédéric Schall in the Musée Magnin in Dijon has been catalogued since the early twentieth century as depicting Christine and there is no reason to doubt this identification (see Caracciolo 2012, p. 124). Christine is represented in a garden, probably at Plessis-Chamant, reclining on the ground and leaning against a rock, her head turned to one side in a manner similar to Houdon’s sculpture. She is depicted in a more sensual manner than the other portraits of her, wearing a low-cut, diaphanous dress that displays her feminine forms. It was perhaps intended as a souvenir of the attractive young woman that Lucien had fallen in love with and married against the wishes of his family. The portrait by Gros now in the Louvre, with its references to the transitory nature of life, was undoubtedly commissioned shortly after Christine’s premature death. She looks wistfully towards a rose at her feet, its petals falling on to the running water. This type of melancholy can be found in another portrait by Sablet, of Lucien Bonaparte, which repeats his earlier portrait of Christine in the background, alluding to the fact that she has now become the object of mourning. In his eminent catalogue raisonné of Houdon’s work, Réau dated the present bust to 1802, although it is possible that the sculpture was commissioned earlier, probably shortly after the sitter’s death in May 1800, while Lucien was still Minister for the Interior. Our bust can be closely compared in both compositional and stylistic terms with the portrait of Madame Adrien Cyprien Duquesnoy, executed c. 1805 (De Young|Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco, inv. no. 54.9), and with the slightly later bust of Josephine, Empress of France, dated 1808 and now in the collection of the Château de Versailles. The surface of our marble is wondrously uniform and carved with all the marvellous subtlety Houdon was capable of, creating an air of idealization that chimed with the classicizing principles of the period. Parallel to this, Houdon does not forsake his unique ability to catch the expressions of the human face and to bring his sitters to life, carving Christine’s hair with expert textural distinction and her pupils at different levels so as to suggest an impression of light animating her serene gaze. Following the Neoclassical fashion of the period, Christine’s hair is arranged with artistry à la grecque, tied in a large chignon held in place by elaborate tresses that crown her head. Curls are allowed to fall more freely around her face and neck, framing her forehead and temples. Christine’s features are described with great sensitivity; the prominent cheekbones give structure to her face, which narrows towards the chin. Her slightly downturned mouth and delicately pursed lips are described with care. These features clearly resonate with those visible in the portrait of her by Gros now in the Louvre. Her round chin and collarbone area highlight the softness of the exquisitely described flesh, emphasizing the sitter’s youth. The sophisticated coiffure contrasts with the apparent simplicity of the sitter’s costume.
Beautifully sculpted in low relief, Christine’s fine muslin dress is modelled with great subtlety. It is gathered over her right shoulder and with buttons on the sleeves. Hanging low, it reveals her décolleté and emphasizes her soft, porcelain skin. The curled hair gathered in a chignon from which curls tumble down while others cover the nape of the neck, and the carefully sculpted folds of the dress and sash, all indicate that the sculpture was intended to be seen from the back as well as the front.
We are grateful to Jane MacAvock for her precious contribution to the present text.
other portraits of christine boyer Jacques Sablet, Portrait of Christine Boyer beside a bust of her deceased daughter, Palais Fesch-Musée des Beaux-Arts, Ajaccio (MNA 839.1.15), exhibited at the Salon of 1799 Jacques Sablet, Portrait of Lucien Bonaparte at Plessis–Chamant, Palais Fesch-Musée des Beaux-Arts, Ajaccio (MNA 839.1.14) Antoine-Jean Gros, Portrait of Christine Boyer, oil on canvas, Musée du Louvre, Paris (RF 838) Jean-Baptiste Isabey, Portrait of Christine Boyer, miniature, Museo Napoleonico, Rome Jean-Fréderic Schall (attr.), Portrait of Christine Boyer in the park of the château of PlessisChamant, oil on panel, Musée Magnin, Dijon (inv. no. 1938 F 875) Joseph-Charles Marin, Melancholy (funeral monument to Christine Boyer), Bonaparte Chapel, church of the Collegiata, Canino