Giuseppe Maria Crespi

An Allegory of the Arts

c. 1730
In preparation for painting, the artist draws in white chalk on the canvas, which shows a sculptor – perhaps Pygmalion – at work. Also shown are a compass and column base, references to architecture. Music is evoked by the harp and lute behind her. The subject of Crespi’s work – artistic creativity – is manifest in the paint itself: the free touch is a sign of his inventiveness. And rather than polish away spontaneity, the work is boldly finished. Crespi also changed his mind as he worked; as the paint has aged, these changes are now visible. Frame: carved wood, gilded. Italy, 17th century
Title
An Allegory of the Arts
Date
c. 1730
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
126.5 x 138.5 cm
Nationality
Italian
Credit line
Purchased 1996
Accession number
38019

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