Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Room XXIX - The Second Half of the 1700s in Rome: Towards Neoclassicism

“Young Girl as a Bacchante” by the Swiss-Austrian Angelica Kauffmann (1741/1807)
“Angelica begins her career very young, showing a child prodigy talent. Her father, a painter, although of poor fortune, was her first teacher and also the architect of her success. He accompanied her in Florence, (...) in Rome and also spent brief periods in Naples and Bologna. She got assignments in London at the court of George III and had a great success. (...) The girl depicted with the attributes that one would commonly refer to Bacchae seems to express the 'natural grace', that for Winckelmann is the 'nice according to reason' (...), far away from the gallant grace, sensual and frivolous of rococo painting, while still making an image of studied sensuality, in which the attribute of the cuff on the upper arm takes us back to the classical iconography of Venus” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Portrait of sir Henry Peirse” 1775, “Madonna with child and S. Filippo Neri” and the incredibly beautiful “Hagar and the Angel” 1776 by Pompeo Batoni (1708/87)
“This painting depicts the apparition to Hagar, banished to the desert with her son Ishmael, of an angel, who indicates a source of water (Genesis, xxi, 8-21). It is one of the most refined and elegant productions of Batoni's late activity, during which his work differs from the prevailing neoclassical structure in the landscape, which builds on models of the previous century” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“In the Madonna and Child with S. Filippo Neri Batoni had as a model the work of Guido Reni the Virgin Mary with St. Philip at the Vallicella, and for the features of the saint, the study of the death mask (...). In this work the relationship between Batoni's painting and the great Roman classical school of the seventeenth century is perfected, filtered through a new accuracy and clarity of form already neoclassical” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
Extraordinary “Back of naked woman” about 1740 by the Frenchman Pierre Subleyras (1699/1749)
“He painted one of the first female nudes from life ever, perhaps his wife, the miniaturist Maria Felice Tibaldi. The representation is intimate and spontaneous, the smooth curves of the body are made ​​from soft brushed with various shades, with a technique very forerunner and modern” (Official website of the Barberini Gallery -
“Portrait of Mrs. Carducci” and “Jupiter Kisses Ganymede” about 1759 by Anton Raphael Mengs (1728/79)
Jupiter kisses Ganymede is the famous ancient false which made Winckelmann so excited that he described it as “the most beautiful painting so far extant from antiquity”
Anton Raphael Mengs himself, only at the point of death, begged her sister to make the false public
“The portrait of Mrs. Carducci was executed by Mengs in a virtuoso and quick manner, managing anyway to render the expressiveness of the face of the portrayed, a certain air of melancholy and the depth of her look” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“The Portrait of Lady was attributed to Anton Raphael Mengs, teacher and brother-in-law of Von Maron (Von Maron had married Mengs' sister) and painter who was contending to Pompeo Batoni the first place as a painter of portraits immediately after the mid-century. This kind of portraiture, particularly in the way of making the expression of intent on the face of the lady in her official character, belongs to the ways of Mengs. Nevertheless, even if the two painters worked together for a long time, because of their close relationship, and Von Maron followed the pattern of Mengs in portraiture, inheriting also his customers, the two fundamental elements that would attribute the painting to the hand of Von Maron are the color of the skin, looking pale and porcelain-like, and the dating of the lady's hairdressing “(Steffi Röttgen)
“Portrait of Cardinal Francesco Landi” by Ludovico Stern (1709/77) son of Ignazio Stern (1679/1748)
“Ludovico was a versatile artist, a beautiful hand, extensive and updated artistic culture and full academic training. Oddly, compared to the customs of the Roman painting of the eighteenth century, he refused any specialism, competing with equal commitment and results just as brilliant in all types and genres of painting: from altarpieces to frescos, from history paintings to portraits, from still life to paintings of animals. His career, it seems, took place entirely in Rome and in fact his painting reveals a detailed knowledge of the Roman paintings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. His constant reference points were, on one hand, the works of Guido Reni, of whom was often a copyist, on the other hand the so-called masters of the Baroque period, as Baciccio, Ludovico Gimignani, Borgognone, Carlo Maratta, Benedetto Luti” (Francesco Petrucci -
“Portrait of the painter Filippo Agricola” by Émile Jean Horace Vernet (1789/1863) one of the greatest French painters of the nineteenth century
“Filippo Agricola (1795/1857) was a well-known artist in Rome in the first half of the nineteenth century, a pupil of Gaspare Landi and Vincenzo Camuccini, he painted, among other things, the cartoons for the mosaics on the façade of the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls. Agricola (...) was a painter essentially tied to traditional models and neoclassical forms. (...) Vernet, the artist who would describe in passionate tones the Napoleonic epic period and the exoticism of the Orient, shows in this painting, painted 'dal vero' (from life), as stated in the autograph, all characters of the romantic portrait” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Birth of Venus” by Gaetano Lapis (1706/76)
“Pupil in Rome of Sebastiano Conca, Lapis was distinguished for an attitude toward a moderate classicism inspired by the painters from Bologna, which earned him the nickname of 'Carraccetto' (little Carracci). This painting is a sketch for a fresco located on the ground floor of the city palace of Princes Borghese in Campo Marzio, a work that Lanzi considers the masterpiece of this artist from Cagli, near Urbino. (...) The mythological theme is unusual: instead of Venus rising from the water, she is presented as a child on a shell to her father Jupiter flanked by Juno and Minerva. This is one of the very few secular subjects in the production of Lapis, which is underlined in the accentuation of a taste closer to neoclassicism, based on the recovery of antiquity, even if interpreted with balanced moderation by the old painter” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Apollo and Daphne” by Pietro Angeletti (about 1737/98) sketch for the ceiling of the Room of Apollo and Daphne in the Borghese Gallery which houses the eponymous sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Sketch “Test of the True Cross” by Giuseppe Cades (1750/99)

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