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SOLIMENA, Francesco

Allegorical Portrait

Allegorical Portrait
Date : 1705 après
Designation : tableau
Field : Peinture
Material : Toile
Technique : Peinture à l'huile
Dimensions (cm) : Largeur : 100 Hauteur : 129
Location : Exhibited
Room : salon blanc
Inventory number : 2004 1 50

Francesco Solimena was the greatest Neapolitan painter from the end of the 17th century until the mid-18th century. His art is one of the best examples of late Baroque in Europe. He created frescos and large paintings for Neapolitan churches as well as many formal portraits, particularly for the Hapsburg court in Naples. These works however bear no relation to the portrait in the Musée des Augustins which is far deeper and more intimate. Dressed in timeless costume and wearing the turban characteristic of 17th century Neapolitan art, the young woman poses before the view of a church. The presence of the vase with the ram motif and the pearl on a tray is extremely enigmatic. This is not a Cleopatra. It has been suggested that the woman may be Flaminia Scarlatti, the daughter of the Neapolitan composer, but nothing suggests music in this scene.  It is far more probable that this is an allegorical representation. Spinosa, one of the finest specialists of the Neapolitan School, thought it may represent Modesty. With the knowledge we currently have, this sumptuous chromatic masterpiece of delicacy remains a mystery.

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