18th century Portrait of the Italian Noble Family Zanardi Landi Lucia Casalini Torelli (1677 -1762)
Oil on canvas h. 240 x 217 cm. Signed “Lucia Casalini Torelli”, Published, Important Provenance.
This significant work, mentioned in the catalogue “La Bottega dei Torelli”, belonged to the collection set in Villa Maraini di Palidano in Mantua, once owned by the noble family Zanardi-Landi.
The size of this masterpiece states the relevance of Lucia Casalini Torelli as a paintress, it introduces the portrait’s figures according to their social role in the society. It was probably painted in 1740 due to the similarities with Cardinal Doria’ s portrait, now on display at the Doria Palace, the residence of the Prince of Genoa.
The interest in the contemporary Italian paintings approached to the Russian court thanks to Empress Catherine. The empress, celebrated as great patron of the arts and literature, was amazed by the sophisticated and meticulous works of Casalini Torelli. The Historical and sacred theme, combined with the French portraiture technique of the Grand Sieclè, guaranteed to the Torelli family a privileged place in the Empresse’s collection. Stefano, Lucia’s son, become court’s painter and depicted the famous “portrait of Catherine II in coronation dress”. It’ s not a coincidence if nowadays in the Hermitage, originally the gallery where Catherine showed to her closer guest her private collection, are on display some works of this Bolognese family.
Provenance: Villa Maraini di Palidano (Mantova)
Literature: ‘La bottega dei Torelli’ by Irene Graziani, Editrice Compositori, 2005