Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari (Lucca or Rome 1654-1727 Rome)
Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari (Lucca or Rome 1654-1727 Rome)

Apollo and the Muses

Details
Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari (Lucca or Rome 1654-1727 Rome)
Apollo and the Muses
oil on canvas
39 ¼ x 53 7/8 in. (99.6 x 136.8 cm.)
Provenance
Cefyn Bryntalch Hall, Llandyssil, Montgomeryshire, circa 1946, and by descent to the present owner.
Anonymous sale; Christie’s, London, 29 November 1968, lot 122.

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Lot Essay

Born in Rome, Chiari was one of the principal pupils of Carlo Maratta, whose studio he entered in 1666, at the age of twelve. By 1686 he had completed his first public commission to paint frescoes of the Birth of the Virgin and the Adoration of the Magi for the Marchionni chapel in Santa Maria del Suffragio. In the following years the artist received commissions from many of the great Roman patrons of the day, including the Barberini and Colonna families, and Pope Clement XI, for whom he executed a Saint Clement in Glory for the eponymous church. As Maratta’s heir, Chiari’s success was by no means limited to the city of his birth. His work was particularly popular with several key English collectors of the day, including Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, known as the ‘Architect Earl’, and John, 5th Earl of Exeter, who acquired no fewer than four works by the artist for his collection at Burghley House. Chiari was principe of the Accademia di San Luca between 1723-25 and counted the English architect, William Kent, among his students.

We are grateful to Professor Giancarlo Sestieri for confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs. Another version of this picture, with variations, is in the collection of the Banca di Roma, Palazzo De Carolis, Rome. In the Rome picture, which Sestieri dates to circa 1712 (G. Sestieri, Repertorio della Pittura Romana della fine del Seicento el del Settecento, II, Torino, 1994, no. 266) the attributes of the two seated Muses in the foreground (holding a viol and mask respectively) are substituted.

Cefyn Bryntalch Hall, where this picture hung for many years, was built by G.F. Bodley and Philip Webb in 1869 and is regarded as marking the beginning of the Georgian revival of the 1870s. It was later the home of the Anglo-Welsh composer and critic, Peter Warlock, born Philip Arnold Heseltine (1894-1930).

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