National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

Bulletin 14, 1969

Annual Index
Author & Subject

Orazio Gentileschi and the
Theme of "Lot and Bis Daughters"

by R. Ward Bissell

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1 L. Pastor, Storia dei Papi, vol. XIII, Rome, 1931, pp. 29 ff.

2 Raffaello Soprani, Le vite dei pittori, scoltori et architetti genovese, Genoa, 1674, pp. 316-17.

3 His daughter Artemisia (1593-C.1652), also a painter, accompanied him to Genoa (R. Ward Bissell, "Artemisia Gentileschi - a New Documented Chronology," Art Bulletin, vol. L, 1968, pp. 156-7). The sentences which follow are based on my research as incorporated in my doctoral dissertation, The Baroque Painter Orazio Gentileschi: His Career in Italy, 2 vols., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1966, where full credit is given to the work of previous scholars.

4 A. M. Crino, "More letters from Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi," Burlington Magazine, vol. CII, 1960, p. 264; and G. Gronau, Documenti artistici urbinati, Florence, 1936, pp. 273-4, respectively.

5 The documentation collected in the Appendices forms the basis for the conclusions presented in the text.

6 There is some indication that the Duke satisfied the painter's desire to work at Turin. In a letter of April 1629, written in London to Secretary Lord Dorchester, Orazio, providing an impressive list of his previous patrons, claimed that he had been "called his Highness of Savoy ..." (W. Noël Sainsbury, Original Unpublished Papers Illustrative of the Life of Sir Peter Paul Rubens, London, 1859, pp. 313-14). This could be an understandable exaggeration. Nonetheless, although there are no works of this period by Gentileschi which are still preserved in Turin to testify to his actual activity there, a few paintings are attributed to him in the sources (see, in addition to those cited in Appendices I, 2 and II, 2, the four genre or allegorical pictures assigned to Gentileschi in an inventory of 1644 of the Castello del Valentino, as reported by A. Griseri in Paragone, vol. XII, no.141, 1961, pp. 35-6).

7 "Gentileschi in France," Burlington Magazine, vol. C, 1958, pp. 117-18. For further discussion, including an invalidation of the particular evidence upon which Sterling in part based his judgement, the reader is referred again to Appendices I, 2 and II, 2.

8 Alessandro Da Morrona, Pisa illustrata nelle arti del disegno, vol. II, Pisa, 1792, p. 258.

9 Vite, 1674, p. 317.

10 A. M. Crino, "The Date of Orazio Gentileschi's Arrival in London," Burlington Magazine, vol. CIX, 1967, p. 533.

11 Vite, 1674, p. 317. Gentileschi died in London on 7 February 1639 New Style (A. M. Crino, "Rintracciata la data di morte di Orazio Gentileschi," Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, vol. IX, 1960, p. 258). 

12. Mostra del Caravaggio e dei caravaggeschi, Milan, 1951, p. 46, no.68, pl. 61.

13 Abundant visual evidence can be found in the photographic collection of the Warburg Institute, London. I am very indebted to Mrs Enriqueta Harris Frankfort for her many courtesies, including permission to publish the photographs reproduced here as figs. 12 and 13.

14 Van Dyck's painting was identified as Jupiter and Ceres when in the collection of the Marchese Doria at Genoa (Catalogo della Mostra: 100 opere di Van Dyck, Genoa, 1955, p. 32, no.58, pl. 58). Orazio's picture for Sauli (fig. 5) is, of course, similar as well, and even includes a still-life in the lower left corner. Since the robustness of the Lot and His Daughters is somewhat unusual for Gentileschi's art in this period, and if the relationship is found to be convincing, Van Dyck's canvas must have taken precedence and would therefore have to have been painted during the Flemish master's first stay in Genoa, that is until February of 1622 (ibid., p. 13).

15 A drawing by Van Dyck of Gentileschi's Judith with Her Maidservant (then in Genoa and today, I believe, the example in the Wadsworth Atheneum at Hartford, Conn.; fig. 3) is preserved in the Chatsworth Sketch book (G. Adriani, Anton Van Dyck: italienisches Skizzenbuch, Vienna, 1940, p. 32 and folio 115v; R. Ward Bissell, "Orazio Gentileschi's Young Woman with a Violin," Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts, vol. XLVI, no.4, 1967, p. 73). Between 1632 and 1635, when both men were in London, Van Dyck included a portrait drawing of Gentileschi in his series of famous personalities. This drawing, now in the British Museum Print Room, served as a model for Lucas Vorstermann's engraved version (H. Vey, Die Zeichnungen Anton van Dycks, Brussels, 1962, vol. I, p. 339, no.276 and vol. II,' no.329). Finally, the possible influence of Van Dyck's compatriot, Rubens, upon Orazio's art in Genoa was suggested by C. Gamba, "Orazio Gentileschi," Dedalo, anno III, no. I, 1922-3, p. 256.

16 In J. Couché, Galerie du Palais Royal, vol. II, Paris, 1808, pl. 87 by actual count.

17 This imbalance is especially striking when the black and white photograph of the painting is compared to the engraving where, naturally, the composition appears in reverse.

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