Offered by Galerie Tarantino
Antiquities, Old masters paintings and drawings
The identification of the subject is based on the attribute of the vase, the pìthos, whose lid the ancestor of the human race, according to Hesiod (Theogony, 570 f.; The Works and the Days, 84 f.), opened.
Humanity, according to Hesiod (Theogony, 570 ff.; The Works and the Days, 84 ff.), opened the lid letting out all the evils (old age, illness, madness, death) of our existence, leaving only hope. The Greek poet tells that Pandora was sent to Earth by Zeus in the form of a "beautiful woman". Earth by Zeus as a "beautiful evil" to punish the theft of fire committed by Prometheus: she was shaped by Hephaestus.
Modeled by Hephaestus, imitating the beauty of the goddesses, with earth and water; Athena adorned her with the help of the Graces, the Hours and Peitus (goddess of persuasion and seduction); Aphrodite gave her grace and Hermes cunning.
The image chosen here is that of "Eve before Pandora", codified in the 16th century painting by Jean Cousin (Paris, Musée du Louvre) which bears this inscription. The work under examination shows Pandora in her nudity, covered only by a very light wisteria-colored veil, unlike other paintings of the same cultural sphere. a other paintings of the same cultural sphere, namely the second Venetian 17th century, which
the mythological figure in contemporary clothes and in attitudes close to Vanitas (e.g. the paintings by Pietro Vecchia and his father-in-law Nicolas Régnier, both kept at the Museo di Ca' Rezzonico in Venice).
This iconography, which makes Pandora look like a kind of terrestrial Venus, recalls the well-known specialty of its sure author, Pietro Liberi, who "made with pleasure the nudes and speziale
which are his main works" (A.M. Zanetti, Della Pittura Veneziana e delle Opere Public Works of the Venetian Masters. Libri V, Venice 1771, p. 381). In the catalog of this protagonist of the Venetian painting of the XVII century, there are numerous examples of Diana and Actaeon and Venus assailed by a satyr from the Berlin Museum, to the two Allegories of the artist.
Museum of Berlin, to the two Allegories of the Palazzo Reale of Genoa, to the Three Graces of the English Royal Collection, to Diana and the English Royal, to Diana and Callisto in the Hermitage of St. Petersburg (U. Ruggeri, Pietro and Marco Liberi.
Marco Liberi. Pittori nella Venezia del Seicento, Rimini 1996, cf. P57, 64, 109-110, 157, 173), it is clear that the artist and his public privileged themes where mythology or baroque allegorism prove to be essential elements of the art of painting.
In Liberi's work, mythology and baroque allegorism are revealed as vectors of an exhibition of sensuality in the themes and in the very conduct of the brush, in the tradition of the art of painting.in the very conduct of the brush, in the tradition of the poems of Titian and the similar secular inventions of the Venetian masters of the Golden Age.
Within Liberi's oeuvre, the present unpublished Pandora finds precise stylistic references with the series of paintings purchased in 1684 directly by the painter in Venice from John Cecil (1648-1700), fifth Earl of Exeter, and commemorated at Burghley House, Stamford in Lincolnshire, four years later. Two of the six English paintings are thought to be by his son Marco, active independently, presumably from 1681 (Ruggeri 1996, pp. 107, 299-300 cat. 43-44); the others, autographed by Peter (Ibid., pp. 204-205 cat. P202-205, with partially
partially erroneous titles), are similar to the painting under examination with respect to costume and anatomical detail, design, and pictorial execution. design and pictorial execution. The pose of Pandora is that of Fortune taken by the hair by the ten-year-old son of the patron
(fig. 1), while the features of her face seem to be repeated in the figure of Juno, now identified, embraced by Jupiter (fig. 2).
embraced by Jupiter (fig. 2: in the 1688 inventory, the work is described as "she who embraces fortune"), as is the headdress of Jupiter.
fortune"), just as the hairstyle is identical in the first painting and in Fortuna embracing Prudence (fig. 3). Even the representation of the figure, which occupies a little more than three quarters of the work and is seated, is identical to that of Fortuna embracing Prudence.
three quarters of the way through and seated in the clouds, is the same as in the trio of paintings at Burghley House, where they adorned the village hall.
Burghley House, where they adorned the mantles of Lady Exeter's dressing room, to which should be added The Logic Between Vice and Pride.
of the history of art, the history of culture and the history of art, the history of art and the history of art. but of an absolutely conforming taste. Corroborating Pandora's belonging to the group we have just illustrated, the softened pictorial material, typical of Pietro Liberi in his last period, as attested by the altarpiece for San Francesco in Muggia, Istria, also dated 1684 (Ibid., pp. 204-205 cat. P207).
We thank Professor Enrico Lucchese for writing this note.
9 000 €