This delightful late 18th century Florentine school oil on canvas painting portrays three graceful young ladies who play and sing outdoors.
The painting is attributed to the famous Florentine painter Violante Beatrice Siries Cerroti, published in the book of Dr. Sandro Bellesi entitled “Painting and sculpture in Florence (XVIth-XIXth centuries) Illustrated edition”. The catalogue was presented in September 2017 during the XXX Florence International Biennial Antiques Fair in Palazzo Corsini.
The painting has been attributed to this famous painter by Prof. Bellesi thanks to the similarities with the artist’s self-portrait preserved in the Uffizzi Gallery Collection Museum in Florence.
The painting is of excellent quality and every detail is masterfully painted. It was selected by the Prato Fabric Museum for the exhibition titled “Il Capriccio e la Ragione, Eleganze del Settecento Europeo”. This exhibition, dedicated to 18th century’s fine art and textiles took place from May 2017 to April 2018 and this oil on canvas portrait painting is published in the exhibition’s catalog.
The scene takes place inside a garden all the ladies have their hair gathered up and are elegantly dressed, they are enjoying the open air singing and playing in the shade of a big tree, behind them there is a brick wall with a large vase above. The young lady on the left is sitting on a low wall playing the guitar, she is elegantly dressed in a pearl white dress with antique pink details embellished with pearls and flowers a lovely cap embellished with white feathers on her head. In the middle of the painting’s scene, another young lady wearing a beautiful blue dress, a pearl necklace and a refined white hat is reading a musical score. The last lady on the right wears a brown dress, a pearl necklace, a gray and gold veil descends from her hair to her shoulders. She is sitting on a stool, a small black dog is sitting on her lap while she is holding a gold ring in her right hand. The painting with its pleasant scene set in a garden and the fashion of the ladies’s clothes,recalls the rocaille language. This work of art has affinity with the French art of that time. The painting represents a serene scene that releases freshness and joy of life, not without an interpretive malice.
Violante Beatrice Siriès Cerroti (1710-1783) began her long artistic career under the Medici dynasty and continued with Habsburg-Lorraine rule, she lived and worked in Florence and Paris.
Portraying some of the leading figures of her day, she achieved a level of recognition still unusual for a woman in that period. Siriès had formidable professional role models, including Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757) and Giovanna Fratellini (1666-1731) one of her teacher in Florence. Since women were not allowed to attend the Florence’s Accademia delle Arti e del Disegno – the oldest art academy in Europe- the position of her parents was very important to enhance her opportunity in the arts field. Her mother Margherita Mugnai, was a musician in the court of Cosimo III de’ Medici and her father, Louis Siries, was one of the best known engraver of his day employed in the French and Tuscan courts. His connections with the Medici court and king Louis XV of France increased Violante’s access to important patronage. Several French distingueshed painters were her teachers: Rigaud, Boucher and Delyen. During her stay in Paris she was entreated to paint portraits of the entire Royal Family, however she had to return to Florence in 1732 where her father began his position as coin engraver to the court of Gian Gastone de Medici. In Florence Violante studied witn Francesco Conti, at that time Florence was becoming a center for wealthy foreign travellers as the fashion of Grand Tour grew in the 18th Century. At age of twenty-three, having completed her education and established her reputation abroad, Siries was finally elected a member of Florence’s Accademia, presided over by the grand duke. Her patrons praised her attention to detail and ability to create life-like representations, thanks to her sophisticated background she had the capacity to satisfy the tastes of cultured clientele.
“Pittura e scultura a Firenze (secoli XVI-XIX). Ediz. illustrata”,Sandro Bellesi, 2017, Ed. Polistampa pagg. 121-123
” Il capriccio e la ragione, eleganze del settecento Europeo” exhibition’s catalogue, 2017, Silvana editoriale, pag. 25
“La Signora Pittrice – The Lady who Paints Violante Siries Cerroti” (1710-1783), 2016, Ed. Pacini Arte
Measures: High 148, Width 110 cm.
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