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Title Sigismunda with the Heart of Guiscardo
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Furini, Francesco (Italian painter and poet, 1603-1646)
Previously attributed to Correggio (Italian painter, ca. 1489-1534)
Date Earliest about 1640
Date Latest about 1640
Description This painting inspired Hogarth to paint his own version of Sigismunda. This work was, at the time, attributed to Correggio and fetched an enormous £405-5-0 when sold as part of the Luke Schaub collection in1758. Hogarth wanted to make a picture to outrank the Old Masters which he felt were unfairly preferred by connoisseurs to contemporary, native British painting. Hogarth asked the same price for his modern masterpiece.

The subject matter is taken from Boccaccio's Decameron. Sigismunda mourns the murder of her lover, Guiscardo, who has been killed by her father, Tancred, King of Sicily, and whose heart Tancred has given her in a golden cup. She adds poison to the cup, drinks and dies. The Florentine artist, Furini uses strong chiarocscuro to dramatise the scene.

Current Accession Number 1991P28
Former Accession Number L.3´57
Subject literature (Boccaccio's Decameron)
Measurements 73.0 x 59 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by the Friends of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 1991.
Provenance Luke Schaub sale, 26 - 28 April 1758, lot 59 as Correggio, Sigismunda weeping over the Heart of Tancred, bought by Sir Thomas Seabright; given by the Trustees of Henry, 9th Duke of Newcastle, to Friends of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 1990.
Principal Exhibitions Art Treasures, Manchester, 1857, cat. no. 348; Painting in Florence 1600-1700, Royal Academy, London (touring) 1979, cat. no. 30, p. 74, ill.; Hogarth's Sigismunda, Tate Britain, 2000, fig. 4.
Publications Burger, W., Trésors d'Art en Angleterre, 1857, p. 108; Waagen, W. F., Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain, Murray, 1857, p. 570; McCorquodale, C., Painting in Florence 1600-1700, P & D Colnaghi, London, 1979, p. 74, cat. no. 30; 'Tales Retold', Buxton Magazine, 1983, p. 31; The Age of Hogarth - British Painters born 1675 - 1709, Tate Gallery, 1988, p. 142; Pointon, M., William Hogarth's Sigismunda in Focus, London, 2000, p.10.
Notes 29 on a Newcastle inventory. A similar work was in Paul Ganz collection and was sold Christie's, New York, 3 June 1987, lot 106. It was then sold at Sotheby's, 21 May 1998, lot 155 as Ghismonda, and again by Sotheby's on 14 October 1998 as Furini, Ghismonda, lot 48a (71.8 x 59.7 cms).The catalogue states that there is a similar composition by Furini which depicts Mary Magdalene in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (see Die Gemaldegalerie des Kunsthistorisches Museum in Wien, 1991, pl. 201).

For Sir Luke Schaub and his collection, see Pears, I., The Discovery of Painting: The Growth of Interest in the Arts in England, 1680 - 1768, New Haven and London, 1988.

Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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