Giulia Lama (Venice c. 1685-after 1753)
Giulia Lama (Venice c. 1685-after 1753)

Cronus Devouring his Child

Giulia Lama (Venice c. 1685-after 1753)
Cronus Devouring his Child
oil on canvas
48 5/8 x 44 in. (123.4 x 111.6 cm.)
Anonymous sale; Christie’s, New York, 8 June 2011, lot 56 ($98,500), when acquired by the present owner.
U. Ruggeri, Giambattista Piazzetta: Il suo tempo, la sua scuola, exhibition catalogue, Venice, 1983, p. 55, under no. 1.
M. Gemin and F. Pedrocco, Giambattista Tiepolo: I dipinti, opera completa, Venice, 1993, p. 510, no. 53, fig. 53, as 'Pagani'.
A. Morandotti, 'Paolo Pagani: il ciclo Leoni Montanari e altre suggestioni,' Verona illustrata, no. 6, 1993, p. 91, fig. 49, as 'Pagani, c. 1710-20'.
R. Pallucchini, La pittura nel Veneto: Il Settecento, Milan, 1995, pp. 313-14, fig. 515, as 'c. 1735'.
C. Geddo, 'Ritrovamenti sul marchese Cesare Pagani committente del pittore Paolo Pagani', Paragone, series 3, nos. 1/2, May-July 1995, pp. 131-2 and 150, note 67.
F. Bianchi, 'Fortuna critica e fortuna collezionistica di Paolo Pagani', Paolo Pagani, 1655-1716, exhibition catalogue, Milan, 1998, pp. 24 and 31, notes 47 and 110, under nos. 7a and 7b, fig. 5, as 'not by Pagani'.
Birmingham, Alabama, Birmingham Museum of Art and Springfield, Massachusetts, Museum of Fine Arts, The Tiepolos: Painters to Princes and Prelates, 8 January-19 February 1978 and 19 March-7 May 1978, no. 4, as ‘Giambattista Tiepolo, 1722’.
Ingelheim am Rhein, Museum-Altes-Rathaus, Kunst in Venedig, 16.-18. Jahrhundert, 26 April-8 June 1987, p. 149, no. 76, as ‘Giambattista Tiepolo, c. 1720-22’.

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Lot Essay

The attribution to Giulia Lama for this striking picture was first proposed by Ugo Ruggeri in 1983 (op. cit.). Since the work was first published in 1959 by Nicola Ivanoff, opinions were divided among most historians of Venetian painting, who argued between Ivanoff’s attribution to Paolo Pagani and Antonio Morassi’s, in 1973, to a juvenile Giambattista Tiepolo. Ruggeri’s opinion was endorsed by Keith Christiansen (verbal communication, 3 May 1996), who compared it stylistically with Lama’s Madonna in Glory with Two Saints and Allegorical Figure of Venice of circa 1720-1723 in the church of Santa Maria Formosa, Venice. Also favouring an attribution to Lama was the late Ridolfo Pallucchini (1995).

Although little is known about the career of Giulia Lama, the essential facts of her life have recently come to light, thanks to the research of Don Gino Bortolan in the archives of Santa Maria Formosa in Venice (for references, see G. Knox, Giambattista Piazzetta, 1682-1754, Oxford, 1992, pp. 86-7). She was born in that parish on 1 October 1681, and her father was the painter Agostino Lama (1645-1714). Among her better known works is a self-portrait of 1725 (Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi), showing her at the approximate age of forty-four. That work, and many of the roughly thirty paintings ascribed to Lama, reveal the influence of Giambattista Piazzetta, who painted a portrait of her in the guise of the allegory of Painting (c. 1720; Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza).

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