Home page

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
GIOVANNI ANDREA SIRANI (BOLOGNA 1610-1670)
GIOVANNI ANDREA SIRANI (BOLOGNA 1610-1670)
GIOVANNI ANDREA SIRANI (BOLOGNA 1610-1670)
GIOVANNI ANDREA SIRANI (BOLOGNA 1610-1670)
3 More
GIOVANNI ANDREA SIRANI (BOLOGNA 1610-1670)

Allegory of Painting and Music

Details
GIOVANNI ANDREA SIRANI (BOLOGNA 1610-1670)
Allegory of Painting and Music
oil on canvas
37 ¼ x 49 in. (94.5 x 124.5 cm.)
Provenance
with Thomas Agnews and Sons, Ltd., London.
Art market, Rome, by 1959.
with Paul Ganz, Basel, from whom acquired by the present owner in the 1970s.
Literature
B. Bohn, 'The construction of artistic reputation in Seicento Bologna: Guido Reni and the Sirani', Renaissance Studies, XXV, 2011, p. 515, fig. 4.

Brought to you by

Francois de Poortere
Francois de Poortere International Director, Head of Department

Lot Essay

Giovanni Andrea Sirani is perhaps best remembered for training his three daughters, Barbara, Ana Maria and Elisabetta, in the ways of Bolognese painting; however, he was a talented and innovative artist in his own right. Often confused with the hand of his teacher, Guido Reni, and his most prolific daughter Elisabetta, his corpus has only recently begun to be elucidated by modern scholars. The identification of the present painting allowed a red chalk drawing to be restored to Giovanni Andrea's oeuvre, having been proposed as a preparatory study for the allegorical figure of Music, subsequently reversed for the painting (fig. 1).

The loose and lively chalk drawing shows Sirani’s affinity for Reni’s sprezzatura style, while the final painting’s subject displays his own humanistic interest in allegorical subjects. This fascination was evident from the contents of Sirani's own library, which included over twenty humanist volumes. As suggested by the file in the Zeri Archives, the figure thought to represent Music may in fact depict Poetry, illustrating Horace's motto 'Ut pictora poesis.' Sirani’s compositions also differed from Reni’s in their interest in emotional narrative—turning the figures away from each other to heighten the sense of comparison between the arts, who are both shown raptured in a moment of inspiration in the act of creation.

More from Old Master Paintings and Sculpture

View All
View All