23 January 2004
Jean-François de Troy (Paris 1679-1752 Rome)
An Allegory of Painting
signed and dated 'J.F. Troy 1733' (middle left, on edge of the table)
oil on canvas
34¾ x 43 in. (88 x 109 cm.)
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, Monaco, 22 June 1985, lot 161.
Roberto Polo, Paris.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, New York, 11 January 1990, lot 101.
with Heim Gallery, London, 1990.
with Bruno Meissner, Zurich, 1992.
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K. Scott, The Rococo Interior, London, 1995, p. 222 (as whereabouts unknown).
C. Leribault, Jean-François de Troy 1679-1752, Paris, 2002, p. 330, no. 212; illustrated p. 10, frontispiece and back cover.
The present painting is one from an important series of the seven Liberal Arts painted by de Troy, of which only the circular Allegory of Music and an Allegory of Poetry (both Museum of Art, Portland), and an Allegory of Prudence (Private collection, Paris) now survive.
The present painting depicts the personification of the arts as a beautiful young woman; holding paintbrushes and a mahlstick whilst her palette is borne by Inspiration who carries a flame and wings on his head. Behind her are folios of drawings and plaster casts to which she can refer and a chest filled with paraphernalia.
The canvas on which she is working shows an Allegory of the Muses. Orpheus can be seen holding his lyre, and looking at inspiration in the shape of Pegasus in flight in the sky. Below are a crowd of Muses, with Euterpe and Terpsichore prominent among them. The golden chain, which Painting wears around her neck, is one of the attributes suggested by Ripa in his Iconologia as suitable for the personification of 'Painting'.
The present work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of de Troy by J.L. Bordeaux.
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