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 Crespi, Giuseppe Maria (Italian painter and draftsman, 1665-1747) , A Girl Holding a Dove

Core Record

Title A Girl Holding a Dove
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Crespi, Giuseppe Maria (Italian painter and draftsman, 1665-1747)
Date Earliest about 1690
Date Latest about 1700
Description Born in Bologna, Crespi specialised in anecdotal genre subjects, often of a satirical nature. The pretty girl offering enticement to a pet dove perhaps alludes to feminine wiles and to the pleasant entrapments of love. Crespi's dark backgrounds and soft, hazy brushwork often add an air of mystery. He was a famous teacher and had a great influence on Venetian eighteenth century painting numbering Piazzetta and Pietro Longhi among his pupils.
Current Accession Number 1955P112
Former Accession Number P.112´55
Subject figure (female); animal (dove)
Measurements 62.9 x 48.3 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Ernest. E. Cook through the National Art-Collections Fund 1955.
Provenance Cardinal Tommaso Ruffo, Ferrara, 1734 [;]; George L. Durlacher sale, Christie's, 8 July 1938, lot 646, bought by Gooden and Fox.
Principal Exhibitions Pictures from Birmingham, Agnew's, 1957, cat. no. 31; Italian Art and Britain, Royal Academy, 1960, cat. no. 433; La Peinture Italienne au XVIII Siècle, Petit Palais, Paris, 1960, cat. no. 203; Primitives to Picasso, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1962, cat. no. 77; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1968; no. 24; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 1986, cat. no. 3; Old Masters from the City of Birmingham, Wildenstein and Co. Ltd, 1970, cat. no. 21; Crespi and the Emergence of Genre Painting in Italy, Bologna, Stuttgart, Moscow, 1990, cat. no. 27; Il Gran Teatro Del Mondo; Palazzo Reale, 2003 - 2004.
Publications Borenius, T., 'The Kaleidoscope of Taste - Caravaggio' The Studio,vol. 102, 1931, p. 223, ill p. 228; Sutton, D., 'Pictures for the Nation' Country Life, 1955, p. 1504; Nicholson, B., 'Editorial - The E. E. Cook Collection',Burlington Magazine, vol. 99, 1957, p. 109, fig. 27; Volpe, C., 1957, p. 37, no. 10; Emiliani, 1971, no. 26; Merriman, M. P., Guiseppe Maria Crespi, 1980, no. 216; Foreign Paintings in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, A Summary Catalogue, 1983, no. 39, ill.

Other, less successful versions in Columbia Museum of Art and City Art Museum, St. Louis. Both these versions indicate that the Birmingham picture has been trimmed slightly, particularly on the right hand side.

Merriman was the first scholar to observe that a painting of this subject is described in the 1734 catalogue of the collection of Cardinal Tommaso Ruffo. Because Ruffo commisioned many works from the local artists during his tenure as Papal Legate in Bologna, 1721 - 27, she proposed to date this painting to the artist's full maturity. However, an early dating is likely for reasons of style (Volpe, Matteucci, Emiliani). The picture is executed with the dense brushstrokes of Crespi's Venetian-inspired style while the girl's face is not yet portrayed with the features preferred by Crespi in the 1720s. However, it is dated by D. Mahon to well after 1700 owing to similarities with the work of Crespi's pupil, Giovanni Battista Piazzetta.

Labels on back 1. 20B; 2. Petit Palais - Paris/ Peinture Italienne du XVIII/ Crespi/ Jeune Fille a la colombe/ City Museum and Art Gallery/ Birmingham/ 9/ Cat no. 203; 3. Royal Academy of Arts, London, Winter Exhibition, 1962, serial no. 77; 4. Royal Academy of Arts/ Winter Exhibition, 1960: Italian Art and Britain, serial no. 38. Complete these refs: Volpe, Matteucci and Emiliani.

Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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