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Italian Paintings

These Italian paintings were created in various artistic centres over a period of more than a hundred years. The works all centre on female figures, from women of myth and history to an artist herself.

We find idealised female figures, informed by a study of antique sculpture and a classical conception of beauty. Elsewhere the image of the female figure is redefined, incorporating elements of autobiography and allegory, epitomised by Artemisia’s self-portrait as she raises a paintbrush ready to apply the first strokes to a canvas. Each woman possesses a certain monumentality, whether at a moment of high drama or inscrutable reflection.

These paintings represent the tastes of earlier collectors, including Charles I, and reflect the types of idealised, Italian paintings on display in Buckingham House during the late eighteenth century. They were hung in carefully ordered arrangements by George III and Queen Charlotte.

Andrea del Sarto (Florence 1486-Florence 1530)

Portrait of a Woman in Yellow

Cristofano Allori (1577-1621)

Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Parmigianino (Parma 1503-Casalmaggiore 1540)

Pallas Athene

Guido Reni (Bologna 1575-Bologna 1642)

Cleopatra with the Asp

Artemisia Gentileschi (Rome 1593-Naples 1652)

Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting (La Pittura)