Enfilade

Cleveland Acquires Maratti Portrait

Posted in museums by Editor on March 16, 2018

Press release (14 March 2018) from The Cleveland Museum of Art:

Carlo Maratti, Portrait of Francesca Gommi Maratti, ca. 1701, oil on canvas, 98.5 × 74.5 cm (Cleveland Museum of Art).

Recent acquisitions by the Cleveland Museum of Art include a magnificent portrait in oil on canvas by Carlo Maratti, the leading painter in Rome at the end of the 17th century; two key works by American photographer Edward Weston that indicate his transition from pictorialism to modernism; and two large-scale contemporary African sculptures by South African artist Kendell Geers and Cameroonian artist Hervé Youmbi.

Carlo Maratti (1625–1715) is often regarded as the last major exponent of a classical tradition that began with Raphael nearly two centuries earlier. Maratti was the leading painter in Rome in the mid to late seventeenth century. Favored by wealthy patrons, Maratti’s primary achievement lay in his ability to synthesize the light and movement characteristic of the Roman Baroque with classical ideals of beauty.

This portrait was painted shortly after Maratti’s marriage to Francesca Gommi in late 1700 as an homage from the artist to his new wife. Gommi had been Maratti’s mistress and artist’s model since at least the 1670s. She is depicted enveloped in lavender-blue drapery, and her hair is elaborately dressed with ribbons and jewels. In her left hand she holds up a drawing to which she gestures with her right. Introducing an allegorical element into a portrait by means of a painting-within-a-painting was a device that Maratti had employed in portraits as early as the 1650s and was probably inspired by portraits of the High Renaissance. The drawing represents Venus in the workshop of Vulcan, forging the love-darts of her adolescent son Cupid.

Although drawings by Maratti are found in major collections throughout Europe and North America, there are relatively few paintings by the artist in public collections outside Italy. Portrait of Francesca Gommi Maratti, a late work by the artist, is particularly appealing for the identity of its sitter and the charming iconography inspired by the artist’s deep love for his subject. The Cleveland Museum of Art has strong holdings in Italian paintings of the 17th century with religious and historical themes. This work is the first Italian Baroque painted portrait to join the collection. Portrait of Francesca Gommi Maratti will go on view in the museum’s Julia and Larry Pollock Focus Gallery beginning March 17, 2018, as part of the museum’s exhibition Recent Acquisitions 2014–2017. . .

The full press release is available here.

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Maratti’s Portrait of Francesca Gommi Maratti, was part of Nicholas Hall’s exhibition Paintings by Carlo Maratti organized to coincide with TEFAF New York in October of 2017. Previously, in July 2016, it was included in Robilant Voena’s installation for Masterpiece London, and before that, in January 2014, it was shown in New York as part of Sotheby’s selling exhibition Painting Passion: The Baroque in Italy, curated by Scott Schaefer.

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