234
234

THE PROPERTY OF SIR PETER MOORES, CBE DL, REMOVED FROM PARBOLD HALL

Jacopo Amigoni
PORTRAIT OF CARLO BROSCHI, CALLED FARINELLI (1705-1782), HALF LENGTH, WEARING A CRIMSON COAT, A TRICORNE HAT AND HOLDING A DOVE, WITH A SHEET OF MUSIC
Estimation
100 000150 000
Lot. Vendu 158,500 GBP (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
234

THE PROPERTY OF SIR PETER MOORES, CBE DL, REMOVED FROM PARBOLD HALL

Jacopo Amigoni
PORTRAIT OF CARLO BROSCHI, CALLED FARINELLI (1705-1782), HALF LENGTH, WEARING A CRIMSON COAT, A TRICORNE HAT AND HOLDING A DOVE, WITH A SHEET OF MUSIC
Estimation
100 000150 000
Lot. Vendu 158,500 GBP (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

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Jacopo Amigoni
NAPLES 1682 - 1752 MADRID
PORTRAIT OF CARLO BROSCHI, CALLED FARINELLI (1705-1782), HALF LENGTH, WEARING A CRIMSON COAT, A TRICORNE HAT AND HOLDING A DOVE, WITH A SHEET OF MUSIC
inscribed lower right: Un Mintri
oil on canvas
76 by 63.5 cm.; 29 7/8  by 25 in.
Lire le rapport d'état Lire le rapport d'état

Provenance

Thomas Osborne (1713-1789), 4th Duke of Leeds, Hornby Castle;
By descent to D'Arcy Osborne (1884-1964), 12th Duke of Leeds;
By whom sold, London, Sotheby's, 14 June 1961, lot 6, where acquired by Agnew's on behalf of the present owner (as Venetian School, 18th century).

Bibliographie

Historical and Descriptive Catalogue of Pictures belonging to his Grace the Duke of Leeds, London 1902, cat. no. 44;
E. Croft-Murray, Decorative painting in England, 1537-1837, Feltham 1970, vol. II, p. 163 (as Amigoni);
T. McGeary, "Farinelli and the Duke of Leeds: 'tanto mio amico e patrone particolare'", in Early Music, 30, 2, May 2002, pp. 209 and 213, note 50, reproduced p. 208, fig. 4 (as Amigoni);
J. Clark, "Farinelli as Queen of the Night", Eighteenth Century Music, vol. 2, issue 2, September 2005, pp 328-330 (as Amigoni);
B. Joncus, "One God, so many Farinellis: Mythologising the Star Castrato", in British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 28, n. 3, 2005, p. 448 (as anonymous, datable circa 1734);
V. Lucchese Salati, "Una nobile e teatrale identità", in L. Verdi (ed.), Il Fantasma del Farinelli, Lucca 2005, p. 59 (as Amigoni).

Description

This refreshingly informal portrait of the celebrated castrato Carlo Broschi, better known as Farinelli, was painted by his close friend Jacopo Amigoni in the 1730s when they were both working in England. Both the singer and the painter enjoyed the patronage of the the Duke of Leeds, in whose collection the painting remained until its sale in these Rooms in 1961 (see Provenance), and it should be assumed that the work was commisioned by the duke himself.

In her analysis of the portrait, the musical scholar Berta Joncus (see Literature) stresses the informality of the portrait and the "erotic enticement" of the iconography. The androgynous nature of the castrato was in the eighteenth century a lure for both sexes. For Joncus, the way the singer is restraining the dove in whose mouth we find a sprig whose flower is a young man's head, the wigless head and the open shirt all project a sexual reading of an Arcadian boy. Moreover, in earlier iconography songbirds had specifically related to castrati, while the effeminate young man's head in the flower was a topos for castrati.

Thomas McGreary's reading is comparatively more orthodox and tame (see Literature): he suggests that due to the closes amical relationship between the duke and the singer, the portrait was deliberately informal. The unusual iconography may not be quite as symbolic: the flower stem with a youth's face, the gesture of releasing a dove and the sheet of music may show Farinelli in one of his operatic roles as a pastorello amante

Jane Clark (see Literature) proposes a more political and altogether less charged sexual reading. Her analysis sees the dove holding a branch with the miniature portrait as representing the Jacobite sympathies of the Duke of Leeds and Farinelli's desire for 'imperialist' peace among nations. She feels the miniature has a strong resemblance to William Kent's painting in the Summer Parlour at Chiswick House of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, known as Bonnie Prince Charlie (1766-1788), grandson of King James II and pretender to the English throne. The white dove, as the symbol of a Davidic King, is representative of the Holy Spirit and was thus another reference to the Templar Masons', and by extension the Duke's, loyalty to Prince Charles and his Divine Right to the throne as opposed to the consitutional monarchy of the Hanovers.

We are hugely indebted to the Centro Studi Farinelli in Bologna for their invaluable assistance with the cataloguing of this work and for confirming the identity of the sitter as Farinelli.

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