Kunsthalle Bremen Alte Meister Gemälde und Skulpturen [1192-1977/1]

Allegory of Beauty

Allegorie der Schönheit (Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen CC BY-NC-SA)
Provenance/Rights: Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen (CC BY-NC-SA)


The Gandolfi family maintained one of the leading painting workshops in 18th-century Bologna. Gaetano Gandolfi created these oval companion pieces for the Buratti family, who kept them in their palace on the Piazza San Martino. The first painting is an allegory of beauty featuring a young couple adorned with floral wreathes. The young man leans on a harp, alluding to the peaceful and poetic Arcadia of shepherd idylls and music. At the same time, he holds up a mirror to the young woman so that she may admire her coral necklace. As an attribute of Prudentia (wisdom, self-knowledge), the mirror may also indicate that both are aware of the danger inherent in beauty. In contrast to the pair in love, the wealthy middle-aged couple is portrayed as turning away from each other. Like their magnificent clothing and jewelry, the horse and the hunting hound also serve as an indication of their high standing. The woman holds up a golden drinking bowl, while the man empties a purse of coins, allowing the money literally to flow through his hands, by which Gandolfi explicitly warns against extravagance and alludes to the transience of earthly possessions. Since these works were originally part of a series of four paintings depicting the seasons, two of which have now been lost, it cannot be ruled out that the Bremen pictures illustrate the spring and the autumn of a human life.


Oil on canvas with earthen red/brown ground, lined


94.5 x 76.5 cm

Painted ...
... Who: Zur Personenseite: Gaetano Gandolfi (1734-1802)
... When

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Kunsthalle Bremen

Object from: Kunsthalle Bremen

Vor über 160 Jahren wurde die Kunsthalle Bremen unweit des Bremer Marktplatzes erbaut, als erstes eigenständiges Haus für eine bürgerliche...

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