This painting is a copy after Martinelli’s 'Allegory of Music', dating to 'circa' 1650, in the Galleria Corsini, Florence.1 Martinelli painted a number of half or bust-length female figures representing saints, ancient queens, or allegories of the Liberal Arts. These protagonists are characterised by long, slender hands, slightly parted, rouged lips, and their hair held back; compare, for instance, the 'Allegory of Painting' offered at Sotheby’s, New York, 29 January 2009, lot 26.2
In works from the 1640s, these figures are defined by dramatic 'chiaroscuro', the striking contrast between light and dark, inspired by the work of Caravaggio and his followers, whose work Martinelli undoubtedly studied during time spent in Rome from 1625 to 1632. Martinelli later enrolled as an artist in Florence and was in turn influenced by the likes of Francesco Furini and Cesare Dandini, who also specialised in allegorical subjects.
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