GINEVRA CANTOFOLI | A SEA-NYMPH, PROBABLY GALATEA
Property from the Collection of Stan Battat
A SEA-NYMPH, PROBABLY GALATEA
oil on canvas
28⅞ by 23¾ in.; 73.3 by 60.4 cm.
The canvas is unlined and stable on its stretcher. The image reads well with no losses or repairs visible to the naked eye. Under UV inspection, a small repair measuring about 1 inch is vsible in the figure's headpiece. Finely applied retouching in areas on her shoulder and cheek as well as throughout the background is also visible but none is distracting to the naked eye. The painting is in good condition and can hang as is. Offered in a simply carved giltwood frame with several losses to the paint.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
The Honorable Mrs. Lister-Kay, Ballinlea, near Dalkey, Co. Dublin (according to a label on the reverse);
Arthur and W. Sévérine Frankel;
By whose estate sold, New York, Sotheby's, 22 January 2004, lot 40 (as "Attributed to Michele Desubleo");
There acquired by Luigi Koelliker, Milan and London;
By whom sold, London, Sotheby's, 4 December 2008, lot 196;
There acquired by the present owner.
Italian Cultural Institute, Diacromie. Dialogie e Derive. Collezione Koelliker, exhibition catalogue, London 2006, n.p., reproduced in color;
M. Pulini, "1656. Ritratto di Ginevra Cantofoli pittrice," in J. Bentini and V. Fortunati, eds., Elisabetta Sirani 'pittrice eroina' 1638 - 1665, exhibition catalogue, Bologna 2004, pp. 134 - 41;
M. Pulini, "Un'altra donna pittrice nel Seicento," in Avvenire, 19 December 2004, p. 22;
M. Pulini, Ginevra Cantofoli : la nuova nascita di una pittrice nella Bologna del Seicento, Bologna 2006, cat. no. 18, pp. 60-61, 104-06, reproduced in color on cover, on p. 61, fig. 62, on p. 72, and on p. 105.
London, Italian Cultural Institute, Diacromie. Dialogie e Derive. Collezione Koelliker, 19 October - 29 November 2006, n.p., reproduced in color.
Ginevra Cantolofi trained with Andrea Sirani, the father of her fellow painter and friend Elisabetta Sirani. Although many of her paintings are lost, she specialized in female figures and her appearance is known thanks to a self portrait1; the features of many of her female figures resemble her own. The present Sea-nymph is one of her masterpieces, and most likely depicts Galatea who was a popular subject in seventeenth-century painting. Here she wears a crown of diverse mollusk shells and holds a coral, though she typically appears riding a shell chariot pulled by dolphins. In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Galatea transformed her mortal lover Acis into a river spirit after he was killed by the jealous Cyclops, Polyphemus. The nymph's white, almost transparent skin demonstrates that Cantofoli was familiar with classical texts describing Galatea, whose name means "milk-white."
1. Cantofoli, Allegory of Painting,signed, oil on canvas, 98 by 74 cm. Private collection.