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Alessandro Turchi (Verona 1578-Rome 1649)

Honour 1606

Oil on canvas | 131.3 x 60.3 x 2.3 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 403951

King's Bed Chamber, Windsor Castle

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  • In 1606 the Accademia Filamonica in Verona decided to commission an artist to paint the shutters of its organ, the centrepiece of its newly built music hall. The construction of new premises was overseen by the Veronese architect Domenico Curtoni, and by 1605 building was well under way. The administration of the commission for the organ decoration was entrusted to Gian Giacomo Giusti and Francesco Da Sesso, who were to choose a suitable artist to 'paint the inside and outside of the shutters and the [organ] case in the best manner and as quickly as possible'. The documents outlining the commission date from April 1606 and it is highly likely that the work was carried out shortly after that date. Although Alessandro Turchi is not named as the artist of the shutters, the circumstantial evidence supporting his involvement is strong: having succeeded Brusasorzi as official painter to the Accademia, he enjoyed the patronage of members such as Gian Giacomo Giusti, who owned a number of his paintings, and would no doubt have been the obvious choice for this prestigious commission.

    This painting, probably depicting Honour, was positioned on the outside of the left wing of the organ. The figure was inspired by Cesare Ripa's Iconologia and the artist probably consulted the 1603 edition which has some woodcut illustrations. When the shutters were closed Honour appeared on the left with Virtue on the right. The male figure of Honour is dressed in Roman costume and wears a laurel wreath upon his head, a golden chain with what seem to be two crossed palms around his neck, and he holds a shield and spear. In Ripa 'Honour' has the attributes of a spear, a garland of laurel and, as an older figure, a golden necklace and a shield.

    Catalogue entry adapted from The Art of Italy in the Royal Collection: Renaissance and Baroque, London, 2007
    Provenance

    Acquired in 1762 by George III from Joseph Smith, British Consul in Venice (Italian List no 238), as part of a set of four with an attribution to Turchi; all of them recorded in the Great Room of the Library at Buckingham Palace in 1790

  • Medium and techniques

    Oil on canvas

    Measurements

    131.3 x 60.3 x 2.3 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external)

    151.1 x 79.5 x 6.5 cm (frame, external)

  • Category
    Object type(s)
  • Alternative title(s)

    Valour, previously entitled

    War, previously entitled