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Lucia Casalini Torelli
Oil on Canvas Painting Portrait of the Italian Noble Family of Zanardi Count

1740 circa

About the Item

This museum quality old master oil on canvas formal portrait painting depicting the family of the Count Zanardi is signed by the artist- the female painter Lucia Casalini Torelli- and published in a book dedicated to Casalini Torelli’s workshop and academy. This palatial masterpiece artwork comes directly from the ancient Villa Maraini Guerrieri - Palidano di Gonzaga (Mantua), an historic Italian heritage building owned by the descendants of the family portrayed for more than two centuries, until 1998. The big scale of this oil on canvas masterpiece painting states the relevance of Lucia Casalini Torelli as a painter. The present artwork is a formal family portrait painting that aim to introduce the characters depicted according to their social role in the society. The noble family is all gathered under a loggia overlooking a park, the landscape in the background is partially covered by a beautiful red cloth on the right side. The father stands up and holds the hand of his eldest son, proudly introducing his future heir. The son wears a light-blue dress and red boots, he is depicted in a serious pose holding a black tricorn hat under his arm and a rapier sword on his belt. The mother wears an elegant gold and dark green brocade dress, she is sitting with her youngest daughter on her knees while her second son is by her side. The little daughter wears a lovely long red and dress with white lace and holds an apple on her hand. The son stands next to his mother and is dressed in a brown priestly clothes. This palatial old masters piece was probably painted in 1740 due to the similarities with Cardinal Doria’ s portrait, now on display at the Doria Palace Museum, the official residence of the Prince of Genoa. The painting features original canvas (“prima tela”) and antique original patina, it is in excellent overall condition considering the age, use and its large scale. A formal detailed condition report and the results of the inspection with the UV lamp accompanied by photos is available on request. As well as for its exceptional quality and quite perfect state of conservation, this painting is particularly important and even more valuable both for the artist who painted it and for its absolutely exclusive provenance. Lucia painted the most prominent and powerful noble families of her time, the location of these paintings is unknown to the art market as it is extremely likely that the portraits are still kept in private collections. Furthermore, Lucia was one of the most appreciated artists of her time, so important that she was admitted as a member of the academy at a time when women were forbidden to attend these studies. In 1706, Felice Torelli-Lucia's husband- was one of the founders of the Accademia Clementina; Lucia was elected an honorary member in 1726, a few years after Rosalba Carriera became a member of the Academy. The active participation of Lucia and Felice in the Academy contributed to their artistic and social success in Bologna. Her self portrait is at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. As regards the provenance, this old master painting come directly from Villa Maraini Guerrieri - Palidano di Gonzaga (Mantova) owned by Zanardi family - whose descendants are still alive- on the occasion of the important auction of the entire furnishings and fine art objects of the villa. Also, from the date of its execution (around 1740) until its sale in 1998, the painting has always been kept in the private villa of the Zanardi counts, this certainly contributed to its excellent state of conservation. The villa is a historic building built in 1746 and was owned by the family until 1998. The charming and distinctive feature of the Villa is represented by the fact that, from its construction up to 1998, belonged to the same noble family lineage and, therefore, it was kept, together with the decorations, furniture and paintings in it contained, with extreme confidentiality, without ever being disclosed or exhibited to the public. Measures: Height 240, Width 217 cm. Signed low left “Casalini Torelli Fece” Literature: Prof. I. Graziani,  ‘La bottega dei Torelli’, Editrice Compositori, 2005, pp. 105, 205. Irene Graziani  is a prominent scholar and professor at the University of Bologna who dedicates her research activity to Emilian painting of the 18th century, recently she has also published a monograph on Stefano Torelli, son of Lucia, who became the official painter at the court of Catherine of Russia. Biography: Lucia Casalini Torelli (Bologna 1677-1762) started her career when she was 13 years old, she was the pupil of Giovan Gioseffo dal Sole, a famous baroque painter. She married the painter Felice Torelli and two of their seven children, Stefano and Anna, become painters. Lucia and Felice married in 1701, and soon opened their own studio with students. The works of art of their "bottega" were soon very appreciated. Casalini Torelli's works were mostly of sacred subjects, but she also specialized as a portrait painter, creating portraits of the prominent Bolognese and Northern Italian families of the era. Lucia Casalini Torelli was one of the principal female italian painters of the 18th century. Felice Torelli was one of the founders of the Accademia Clementina; Lucia was elected an honorary member in 1726. The active participation of Lucia and Felice in the Academy contributed to their artistic and social success in Bolognese during the first half of the 18th century. One of her self-portrait is exposed in the Corridoio Vasariano at the Uffizi Museum, Florence. Stefano Torelli, Lucia’s son, become court’s painter of the Russian Emperor and depicted the famous “portrait of Catherine II in coronation dress”. 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 Empress collection. 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 of painters.
  • Creator:
    Lucia Casalini Torelli (1677 - 1762)
  • Creation Year:
    1740 circa
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 94.49 in (240 cm)Width: 85.44 in (217 cm)Depth: 1.19 in (3 cm)
  • Medium:
  • Movement & Style:
  • Period:
  • Framing:
    Framing Options Available
  • Condition:
    Original canvas and patina. The whole surface is stable and uniform, bright and saturated colors. No signs of invasive restoration. Formal condition report and UV lamp pictures available on request. Artisanal custom hand made frame on request.
  • Gallery Location:
    Firenze, IT
  • Reference Number:
    Seller: Galleria Antonio Esposito di Chiara Esposito1stDibs: LU101113393481
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