Wednesday, January 23, 2019

15C -18C Portraits of Women Portrayed as Pastoral Allegories - Goddesses, Saints, Classical Literature Characters

Early artists often painted portraits of their contemporaries as allegories painting the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the Biblical & classical characters.   These came to be called donor portraits. Allegorical portraits remained popular from the 15C to the 18C; and as time passed, they expanded to show their female sitters as Greek goddesses, or muses, or nymphs in in a rustic setting. These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period. Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon, if a proper lady were sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.
1475 Catherina Sforza as St.Catherine, by Sandro Boticelli

1480  Simonetta Vespucci as Cleopatra, Piero di Cosimo

1480 Simonetta Vespucci as Maria Lactans, by Sandro Botticelli

1525 Saxon noblewoman as Mary Magdalene, by Lucas Cranach the Elder

1530s A Lady as St. Cecilia by circle of Ambrosius Benson

1500s A Lady as Cleopatra

1600 Young Woman as Portia Catonis, by Santi di Tito

1630 Lady as Saint Catherine, by Claude Deruet
1630 Marie Charlotte de La Tremoille, Duchess of Saxe Iena as Geometry

1660s Lady as Mary Magdalene, by circle of Ferdinand Bol

1660s Louise de la Valliere as St. Helena by school of Abraham Janssens

1673 Victoria della Rovere as St. Vittoria, by Mario Ballasi

1680s La Grande Mademoiselle as Athena

1700 Portrait of a noblewoman as Cleopatra, by Pierre Gobert

1730 Marquise de Gueydan as Hebe, by Largilliere

1749 Madame Henriette de France as a Vestal Virgin, by Jean-Marc Nattier

1750 Duchesse de la Rochefoucauld as Hebe, by Jean-Marc Nattier

1780-81 Sarah Harrop as a Muse, by Angelica Kauffman

1780s Louise Henrietta Campbell, Lady Scarlett as the Muse of Literature by 
Angelica Kauffman

1790 Lady Loft as Hebe, by Hugh Douglas Hamilton

1799 Mademoiselle Guimard As Terpsichore, by Jacques-Louis David