Offered by Galerie Tarantino
Antiquities, Old masters paintings and drawings
Philip LAUWERS called Filippo LAURI
(Rome, 1623 - 1694)
Jupiter and Io spied by Juno
Oil on canvas
29 x 38 cm oval
Regency period frame in richly carved and gilded oak
On the reverse, an inventory number 1015.
Provenance: Probably General James Henry Craig, his Christie's sale on April 18, 1812, lot "n.13 Jupiter, Io and Juno, oval" sold 82 guineas to Mc Gavin.
Comparative bibliography: Christopher Baker, Filippo Lauri's Rape of Europa, in " Apollo ", vol. CXLX, n. 448, June 1999, pp. 19 - 24
A.F. Blunt & H.L. Cooke, The Roman Drawings of the XVII and XVIII Centuries in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen at Windsor Castle, London 1960
Elena Fumagalli, Palazzo Borghese, Roma 1994
Marie-Nicole Boisclair, "La décoration des deux mezzanines du palais Borghese de Rome", RACAR : revue d'art canadienne / Canadian Art Review
Vol. 3, No. 1 (1976), pp. 7-27
G. Sestieri, Repertorio della pittura romana della fine del Seicento e del Settecento, 1994, v. I, p. 106
The "Italianized" Flemish artist Filippo Lauri, son of Balthazar Lauwers and collaborator of Peter of Cortona, Claude Gellée, Dughet and van Bloemen, corresponds in all respects to the various stylistic criteria brought together in this delightful little painting. The physiognomies of the characters and the way they are draped are found in all the works of the artist, known for his mythological scenes, bacchanals and, more rarely, religious scenes. The provenance of our painting confirms Filippo's great success with English enthusiasts, who were fond of mythological compositions, as evidenced by a large number of works still preserved in collections across the Channel. Filippo is also known to have participated in the decorations of the Quirinal Palace and the Borghese Palace in Rome, of which several projects remain. This is notably the case of a medallion with a gouache composition similar to that of our painting and inserted in a rich decoration (Fig.1). Numerous variants are visible mainly in the landscape and the clouds. Our painting, whose quality of the characters and landscape leave no doubt as to its autograph character, could be considered as a preparatory modello or as a later autograph derivation or ricordo of this fresco from the mezzanine of the Borghese Palace.
Another small oval canvas of the same dimensions, representing Pan and Syrinx and possibly a counterpart of ours, was once on the art market. This theme is found on the right-hand side of a preparatory drawing for the decoration of the mezzanine of the Borghese Palace kept by the Royal Trust, but it is not found in the final decoration, whereas the project on the right-hand side representing Alpheus and Arethusa is. The vault of the mezzanine of the Borghese Palace was described in detail by Francesco Saverio Baldinucci (son of Filippo) in a manuscript biography of Lauri:
"In 1671 he painted in gouache (not fresco), in the palace of the Prince Borghese in Rome, the vault of a small room, representing at the top the wedding of Bacchus and Ariadne, crowned by Venus in the presence of satyrs and bacchantes with cups of wine and musical instruments. The decorations of the four windows are painted with as many medallions supported by figures in chiaroscuro, of the same size (three palms) as the others.
These are Io changed into a cow and guarded by Argus, sought by her father, writing her name in the ground with a hoof. In the second, Io is seduced by Jupiter in the form of clouds, while Juno looks at them with a wicked expression of jealousy. In the third, the nymph Garamantis bathing in a stream is surprised by Jupiter, who, seduced by her, rides an eagle to embrace her. The fleeing nymph is pinched by a crayfish and abducted. The fourth shows the river god Alpheus pursuing Arethusa, while Diana protects her by interposing a cloud screen and shooting an arrow to open the earth: falling into the hole, the nymph turns into a river."
We would like to express our gratitude to Mr. Alessandro Agresti and to Mrs. Elisa Martini for their help in the writing of this note.
9 000 €