156
156
Donato Creti
A FATE
Estimate
100,000150,000
JUMP TO LOT
156
Donato Creti
A FATE
Estimate
100,000150,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Master Paintings & Sculpture Day Sale

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New York

Donato Creti
CREMONA 1671 - 1749 BOLOGNA
A FATE

Provenance

Count Pietro Ercole Fava (died 1744), Palazzo Fava, Bologna, listed in the Carracci Hall, as either cat. no. L. 20 or L. 25 (“Una femina che fila nella naspa, mezza figura dal vero, con cornice intagliata, del Creti”);
Presumably thence by descent in the collection to Count Carlo Fava, Palazzo Fava, Bologna (died 1790).

Literature

Inventory of the collection of Count Pietro Ercole Fava, drawn up in 1745 by Donato Creti, published by G. Campori, Raccolta di cataloghi ed inventari inediti, 1870, p. 610, as either cat. no. L. 20 or cat. no. L. 25.

Catalogue Note

Unknown to scholars until recently, this portrayal of a beautiful and contemplative young woman is an important addition to the corpus of Donati Creti, one of the most poetic artists of the Bolognese school.  Datable to the 1690s, it ranks among the artist’s earliest works and is a testament to his precocious talents so admired by Count Alessandro Fava, one of his most important early patrons.

This woman, who has been rendered with a free and lively brush, is one of the three Fates, mysterious sisters from Greek mythology who determined the destiny of men through spinning, measuring, and cutting the thread of life.  She is shown here in profile, one of Creti’s favorite compositional devices, as it allowed him to capture idealized and original renderings of feminine elegance.  She wears a simple dress, and her golden hair is adorned with braids and jewels, and with a pensive expression, she casts her eyes downward over her left shoulder.  She sits in front of a simple wooden spinning wheel and holds a thin thread of string with two fingers of her left hand. 

Very likely, this Fate is Clotho, the sister who spins the thread.  Although she is seen here in solitude tending to her work, she probably once formed part of a trio of paintings with her sisters: Lachesis, the one who measures the thread, and Atropis, the one who cuts the thread.  Further supporting this idea is the existence of a closely related composition by Creti of a young woman, probably Lachesis, seen in profile but facing to the left (fig. 1).  Presently unlocated, then, would be Atropis, who would have been placed in the middle.  The downward and reflective glances of her two other sisters suggest they are looking on as she cuts the thread of life. 

Professor Daniele Benati, who has examined this work firsthand, endorses the attribution to Donato Creti and dates the painting to the 1690s.

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