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Italian School, North Italian (c. 1530)

Fame c.1530

Oil on canvas | 181.8 x 140.6 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 402942

King's Gallery, Kensington Palace

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  • Fame and Diligence (RCIN 402941) were given to Charles I in 1635 by Cardinal Francesco Barberini as diplomatic gifts. They were specifically chosen as "antichi" ("old") pictures, to cater to the tastes of the English King. After being attributed to Giulio Romano, Parmigianino and Frans Floris, in 2012, Alessandra Pattanaro convincingly linked the pictures to Camillo Filippi, a Ferrarese painter, who worked in the studio of the brothers Dosso and Battista Dossi. Known for his richly-coloured, graceful paintings, Filippi was considered a successful painter in his own time. From the early 1550s he worked in collaboration with his two sons, Bastianino and Cesare.

    Pattanaro revised the attribution and dating of the works based on a comparison with Camillo Filippi's Allegory of Patience (Galleria Estense, Modena). Made after Giorgio Vasari's Allegory of Patience for Bernardetto Minerbetti, it was commissioned in 1554 by Ercole II, Duke of Ferrara, for the Patience Suite at the Castello Estense. Pattanaro revised the attribution and dating of the works based on a comparison with Camillo Filippi's Allegory of Patience (Galleria Estense, Modena). Made after Giorgio Vasari's Allegory of Patience for Bernardetto Minerbetti, the work was commissioned in 1554 by Ercole II, Duke of Ferrara, for the Patience Suite at the Castello Estense. Although there are some differences in the handling of paint, in which Patience reveals a more Venetian approach to colouring (possibly because of assistance from his son, Bastianino), it is likely that due to their thematic links, Fame and Diligence were painted as part of the same decorative scheme.

    Fame is also comparable to other works by Filippi; the profile recalls the Archangel in his Annunciation in the Church of Santa Maria in Vado, Ferrara, whilst the delicate raising of the slender, long feet, and the billowing drapery with soft, melting folds bring to mind the figure of Christ in Filippi's Resurrection, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Ferrara.

    Fame is here embodied by a standing full-length female figure with large grey wings. She is identifiable as ‘Fame’ by the common attributes; her right arm is extended upwards holding two wreaths, and in her left hand she holds a trumpet and long palm branch. Her body is swathed in a combination of a billowing red robe, a short yellow tunic and a longer green skirt, leaving her right breast and lower legs exposed. Behind her, in a straightforward allusion to Immortality, evergreen ivy climbs over ruined masonry. The column base to the right may refer to Fortune. On the table is an hourglass, a reminder of the importance of industry and timekeeping to the virtue of diligence.

    The paintings were sold at the Commonwealth Sale, but were later recovered at the Restoration. They were then taken to France by Henrietta Maria, and hung in the Presence Chamber at Colombes, but by 1688 were hanging in the Queen's Gallery at Windsor Castle.

    Provenance

    Acquired by Charles I in 1636 from Cardinal Francesco Barberini

  • Medium and techniques

    Oil on canvas

    Measurements

    181.8 x 140.6 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external)

    200.0 x 152.3 x 8.4 cm (frame, external)