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Title An Allegory of Misrule
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Platzer, Johann Georg (Austrian painter, 1704-1761)
Date Earliest about 1734
Date Latest about 1761
Description The meaning of this complex painting remains enigmatic. The forces of worldly pleasure personified by Venus advance triumphantly towards a shore tumbling with sea creatures, tritons and nereids. In the left foreground, Father Time gestures urgently to a melancholy and stupefied group representing Science and the Arts. In the background, a raging battle takes place between Lapiths and Centaurs. Perhaps the subject represents a warning about the triumph of the senses over the intellect?

Platzer originated in South Tyrol and studied at the Vienna Academy. He specialised in small and exquisitely painted oils on copper. This is an example of a cabinet painting, intended for the private rather than public rooms of a great house. It was probably commissioned by Count Shouvalov, favourite of the Empress Elizabeth of Russia and the painting remained in Russia until 1931.

Current Accession Number 1971P4
Former Accession Number P.471
Subject allegory (misrule?)
Measurements 56.4 x 75.7 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on metal (copper)
Acquisition Details Purchased from Gooden & Fox with the aid of the Public Picture Gallery Fund 1971.
Provenance Shouvalow collection; Stroganoff Collection, Leningrad; Russian Government sale, Lepke's, Berlin, 13 May 1931.
Publications Catalogue of Paintings in Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, 1960; Foreign Paintings in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, A Summary Catalogue, 1983, no. 115.
Notes Russian inscription on back of painting indicates this once belonged to the collection of his Excellency I. I. Shouvalow, favourite of Empress Elizabeth of Russia, one time Ambassador in Paris, art collector and founder of the first Russian university.
Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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