"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Marchesa Elena Grimaldi-Cattaneo

This 1623 portrait of Marchesa Elena Grimaldi-Cattaneo by Sir Anthony Van Dyck hangs in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in Washington, DC.

As Elise Goodman writes, discussing a different portrait of the Marchesa: 
Since we have precious little information about Elena Grimaldi, other than that she was a member of the wealthy and powerful Genoese patriciate, we will have to be content to “know” her the way Van Dyck fashioned her, that is from the outside, through what David Smith has called in Dutch portraiture a “social mask” or “persona,” as she plays the role of the aristocratic altera donna with panache. 

(Goodman, Elise. “Woman's Supremacy over Nature: Van Dyck's ‘Portrait of Elena Grimaldi.’” Artibus Et Historiae, vol. 15, no. 30, 1994, pp. 129–143. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1483477. Accessed 30 Aug. 2021.) 

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