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A rare signed and dated painting by the artist, the Colnaghi picture is a persuasive reminder of Lauri’s refinement as a colourist. It also reveals his interest in the works of such Bolognese masters as Domenichino and Francesco Albani, and the neo-Venetian Bacchanals of Nicolas Poussin. Stylistically our picture falls into Lauri’s later period of the 1670s and 80s, when his mythological scenes and cabinet paintings demonstrate an idyllic charm that anticipates ¬eighteenth-century art.
Lauri treated the subject of Pan and the Bacchanalia on various occasions. Our work may be compared to Sacrifice to Pan (Musée du Louvre, Paris) and a gouache of the same subject, Dance of nymphs and satyrs (exhibited at Trafalgar Galleries, London, 1983). The latter may in fact be a preparatory study for the Colnaghi painting. Both feature the same overall composition and groupings of figures, while details such as the still life of fruit, the garlands of flowers and the bas-relief of the monument are virtually identical.
The youngest son of the Flemish landscape painter Balthazar Lauwers (1578-1645), Filippo was born in Rome, and as such, adopted the Italian variant of his surname, Lauri, by which he has always been known. He trained under his father, then with his elder brother, Francesco Lauri (1612-1637), and finally with his brother-in-law, the late Roman mannerist painter, Angelo Caroselli. By the late 1640s he had established himself as an independent painter in Rome, where he achieved great popularity with his colourful small-scale pictures of biblical and mythological subjects. By 1654 he was a member of the Accademia di San Luca, of which he later became Principe (1684-85) at the height of his career. He was admitted to the Virtuosi del Pantheon in 1663, and there followed in 1671 his most famous surviving work, a ceiling painting of The Marriage of Bacchus and Ariadne in a small room in the Palazzo Borghese, Rome. Lauri worked with many prominent landscape artists, painting the staffage in compositions by Claude Lorrain, Viviano Codazzi and Filippo Gagliardi. He also collaborated with Gaspar Dughet in the decoration of the Gallery of Alexander VII in the Quirinale Palace in Rome, where they painted The Sacrifice of Cain and Abel. In his biography of Lauri, Francesco Baldinucci notes that he ‘worked with great originality in every kind of painting… rendering landscapes, fruits, flowers, animals and architecture,’ while Pascoli reports that the artist earned a substantial income and achieved considerable success, proving the popularity of landscape art with local patrons and collectors from Northern Europe alike.
|Height||43.50 cm||(17.13 inches)|
|Width||70.50 cm||(27.76 inches)|