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Pseudo-Caroselli (active in Rome, first quarter of the 17th century)
Pseudo-Caroselli (active in Rome, first quarter of the 17th century)

A courtesan in a plumed hat playing a tambourine, a landscape beyond

Pseudo-Caroselli (active in Rome, first quarter of the 17th century)
A courtesan in a plumed hat playing a tambourine, a landscape beyond
oil on canvas, unlined
39 x 29 ¼ in. (99.1 x 74.3 cm.)
Neroni family, Ripatransone, from whom acquired by the parents of the present owner by the 1950s.
D. Semprebene, Angelo Caroselli, 1585-1652: un pittore irriverente, Rome, 2011, p. 99, illustrated, as Angelo Caroselli (entry by M. Marini).

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Lot Essay

Published in 2011 as a work by Angelo Caroselli (op. cit.), this delightfully spontaneous tambourine player was omitted from the more recent monograph by Marta Rossetti, who believes it to be by the so-called Pseudo-Caroselli (written communication with the department, 6 March 2018). As Rossetti asserts, the pseudonym has in fact come to encompass paintings by more than more artist working in the ambit of Caroselli. This painting belongs to the group considered to be by the most significant hand of those collected under the Pseudo-Caroselli umbrella, that most influenced by Caroselli himself. The group includes, among others, the Death of Cleopatra in an English private collection, the Bacchus and Ariadne formerly in the Appleby collection, Jersey, and the Pair of Lovers and Singing lady in a plumed hat, both of whose locations are unknown (see V. Sgarbi, ‘Pseudo Caroselli, La morte di Cleopatra…’, Quaderni del Barocco, November, 2012, pp. 3-6).

Rossetti retains that the hand responsible for the latter group of pictures (and indeed those other hands of a lesser quality also given to the Pseudo Caroselli) must belong to an artist of Flemish origin, given their derivation from the work of Maarten van Heemskerck (loc. cit., p. 5). Indeed, in this painting, the crisp, smooth treatment of the flesh, the precision with which details of the linen, hair and feather are rendered and the spindle-like quality of the fingers certainly indicate the work of a northern artist. Rossetti has proposed that the Pseudo Caroselli (or at least, the specific artist responsible for the group in question here) may be identifiable as a relation of Henri Cousin. Cousin was a celebrated goldsmith and jeweler whose family ran one of the most important goldsmith companies in Paris, with a further workshop in Rome. She notes the prominent references to gold and repeated inclusion of elaborate, Netherlandish gold objects in the group given to this artist, and suggests that the “C” in the CD signature adorning Antony and Cleopatra in a Florentine private collection, could in fact stand for “Cousin” as much as for “Caroselli”. Prior to 1603, Caroselli’s father-in-law, the Flemish painter, Balthasar Lauwers, had married Cousin’s daughter, Elena, linking the family of painters with that of the French goldsmiths.

We are grateful to Prof. Marta Rossetti for endorsing the attribution on the basis of photographs.

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