172
172

PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Elisabetta Sirani
BEAUTY FENDING OFF TIME
JUMP TO LOT
172

PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Elisabetta Sirani
BEAUTY FENDING OFF TIME
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Masters Day Sale

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London

Elisabetta Sirani
BOLOGNA 1638 - 1665
BEAUTY FENDING OFF TIME

Provenance

Barone Franco della Gulfa;
His sale, Rome, Casa d'Aste Sanpaolo, 26 March 1985, where acquired by the present owner.

Literature

G. Manni et al., Arte Emiliana, dalle raccolte storiche al nuovo collezionismo, Modena 1989, p. 108, cat. no. 76, reproduced in colour p. 108;
F. Frisoni in La Scuola di Guido Reni, M. Pirondini and E. Negro (eds), Modena 1992, pp. 344, 347, reproduced in colour p. 353;
A. Modesti, Elisabetta Sirani, una virtuosa del Seicento Bolognese, Bologna 2004, p. 18 and p. 37 under note 63, reproduced in colour p. 18, fig. 6;
C. Steffan, 'Di Trionfo in trionfo: Indizi sull'immaginario iconografico del primo oratorio händeliano', in G. F. Händel: Aufbruch nach Italien, H. Geyer and B. J. Wertenson (eds), Rome 2013, pp. 285–302, reproduced fig. 6.

Catalogue Note

In her short lifetime, Elisabetta Sirani enjoyed enormous success, forging a prolific career as a painter and draftsman and becoming one of the the most celebrated Bolognese artists of the mid-seventeenth century. She likely received her initial training from her father, Giovanni Andrea Sirani, who was principal assistant in the workshop of Guido Reni. By the age of twenty, however, she was head of her own workshop and was later the first woman to found an academy of design for female artists.1  

The figure of Beauty in this painting appears to be an idealised self-portrait of the artist. In a lively self-portrait sketch, now in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, Elisabetta depicted herself with a neat mouth and large eyes, meeting closely at the bridge of an elegant, long nose; the physiognomy is certainly comparable to that of this female nude.2 As a lady of social rank and commercial success, Elisabetta became a recognizable figure and was renowned for her beauty. She used her looks and status to her advantage, both posing for her father and inserting her image into her own paintings. She appears as a seductive heroine in numerous historical and mythological paintings, including Giovanni Andrea's Venus and Cupid in the collection of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio, Bologna, and her own Self-Portrait as an Allegory of Painting, in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow.3 

1. Modesti 2004, p. 11.
2. Modesti 2004, pp. 17–18, reproduced fig. 5.
3. Modesti 2004, reproduced p. 19, fig. 7 and p. 15, fig. 3 respectively.

Old Masters Day Sale

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