Beginning in the early 1760s, Kauffmann began to expand beyond pure portraiture into historical and mythological subjects. Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers and springtime. Called Chloris by the Greeks, she was the consort of Zephyrus, the west wind of springtime. Flora is usually portrayed as a lovely young woman and, as Kauffmann has depicted her here, carries flowers in her lap and wears a garland in her hair. Though neither Flora nor its pendant are dated, they were probably painted in the 1780s, by which time Kauffmann was living in Italy with her second husband, the artist Antonio Zucchi. Another painting by Kauffmann depicting Flora, signed and dated 1790 and paired with a pendant of Hygieia, goddess of health, was painted for the Duca di Santa Croce, Palazzo St. Elia, Palermo.1
1. See sale catalogue, London, Sotheby’s, 8 November 1995, lots 118 and 119, reproduced in color.
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