Thursday, March 3, 2016


Room XXXII - Collection of the Duke of Cervinara. French Paintings of the 1700s
“Dimitri Sursock Duke of Cervinara, a man of culture and an avid art collector, lived in London in a house where the works were on display along with rare and precious objects in a harmonious testimony of refined taste. Upon his death in 1960, he decided to leave the paintings in an Italian museum and his nephew Don Aspreno Colonna chose the Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica. The collection is almost entirely made of eighteenth-century French paintings, very rare in Italy and in public collections” (Official website of the Barberini Gallery -
Marble bust “Portrait of a Gentleman” by Jean Jacques Caffieri (1725/92) the favorite sculptor of Louis XV, King of France from 1715 to 1774
“Morning Scene”, “Evening Scene” and “The little gardener” by François Boucher (1703/70) the favorite painter of Madame de Pompadour
It is a masterpiece overloaded with erotic passion
“One of the most perfect expressions of the production of Boucher. It represents the ideal of female beauty of the moment, graceful and gentle, seemingly naive and close to nature, in fact, extremely refined and carefully studied - just look at the pose, the drapery, the accurate arrangement of roses in her lap - meant to attract, to seduce, precisely, beyond moral meanings and emotional involvement” (Francesca Mochi Onori)
“Portrait of the Artist's Wife” 1755 by Jean Baptiste Greuze (1725/1805)
“Greuze had specialized in this type of depictions of bourgeois circles, imbued with good feelings, sometimes almost moral illustrations of novels (...). At the same time he became famous for his soft pictures of girls expressing a contained and sentimental melancholy” (Francesca Mochi Onori)
“From Antoine Watteau he took on one hand his attention to the study of nature, and, on second hand, the setting of the scenes related to the topics of nobility's elegant life, so as to create a genre that had its dignity with the definition of 'fête galante', with which he produced a type of painting that seems to be the codification of the elegant and frivolous appearance of French society in the early eighteenth century. Yet when Lancret dies, with him is over the moment of greatest success of this genre of painting that had tired followers and an evolution in pathetic and sentimental terms” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
Imaginary landscapes with ruins including “Monumental Fountain” and “Imaginary View of the Pantheon (The Wharf)” by Hubert Robert (1733/1808)
“Hubert Robert's painting is strongly influenced by his stay in Rome, which occurred between 1754 and 1765. When he returned to Paris, the ancient memories of Italy were the constant theme of his works: his scenes express his own touching feeling of a grandeur now lost, revised through the emotion of memories, now in a pre-Romantic key” (Official website of the Barberini Gallery -
“Twenty year old Annette” by the Frenchman Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732/1806)
“In paintings by Fragonard the main theme can be found in the joy of seduction, with no artificial filters, but as light as a game. (...) Fragonard is a painter full of sunshine, his paintings, imbued with bright colors, quick and lively in his strokes, perfectly express, rather than the sugary Boucher, the vital impulse of sensuality. His images directly affect the senses, without mental constructs or allegorical meanings” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Three young singers” by Antoine Le Nain (1599/1648)
“The girl who gets out of bed is part of the first period of the painter. Small works such as this are typical of the production of Schall, when the whole scene is designed to titillate the viewer with an image risqué, the flight of the parrot is the excuse to show the half-naked girl in a graceful gesture” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“The birthday of the grandfather” of Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761/1845)
“He had a mishap with the law in 1794 for having executed a painting of the erotic genre, which prompted him to deal with an entirely different kind of subjects. His favorite subject in fact, in addition to portraits in which he was a master, became scenes of daily life, documenting customs of the time, with a very careful rendering of garments and details as well as the construction of the scenes. His paintings, as in this case, are often characterized by strong sentimentalism and research of 'good feelings', the reason why his production was particularly appreciated by the new middle class, almost counterpoint to the 'gallant parties' of the ancien regime. (...) His output was enormous: about five thousand portraits and five hundred genre scenes” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)

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