One of the greatest joys - there are many joys so it is hard to choose just one! - of working at Basildon Park is the beautiful paintings and art that is on display that we get to enjoy.
It can be tricky though, remembering which painting is by which artist, what the titles of the different works are. Also we get many visitors who are experts themselves and it is easy to trip yourself up and say the wrong thing. They are usually very kind though and often willing to share information which is always lovely to learn.
In the Octagon Room, which is the drawing room, there are paintings on display by two Italian artists. Pompeo Batoni and Giovanni Pittoni. You have to be very careful to get them the right way round. It has taken me a long time and I still slip up occasionally! You can guarantee that if you mix them up the person you are speaking to knows their stuff. It is just the way it goes!!
Today I would like to share with you the works of these artists.
The works by Pompeo Baton were all painted between 1740 and 1743 for the Court Cesare Meranda, Forli, Italy.
We do not know the date of the paintings of Giovanni Pittoni, but he lived between 1687 and 1767.
In this photo we have works by both artists. From the bottom left, going clockwise, the works are as follows:-
St Paul - Shown carrying his sword.
St James the Less - He is holding a club of fullers staff by which he was killed. He is said to resemble Christ due to the supposed blood relationship between them.
The suicide of Lucretia - A tragic event in the mythology of ancient Rome. She was a virtuous woman who was raped by Sextus, son of the king of Rome. She told her husband and father what had happened and then killed herself. There was a rebellion and Sextus and his father were exiled.
God the Father and the Holy Spirit - God the Father is shown with a white dove to symbolise peace. He is dramatically lit by a ray of light forming a triangular halo and the head is nobly conceived.
St John the Evangelist - Here shown with a pen and book. His emblem the eagle is in his left hand.
All by Batoni, with the exception of The Suicide of Lucretia which is by Pittoni.
Again from the bottom left, working clockwise, the works are as follows.
St Philip - Shown with ropes and a cross on which he was martyred upside down.
St Thomas - The Patron Saint of Architects, this is depicted by the artist showing Thomas with a builders square.
Cleopatra, Mark Antony and the Pearl - Cleopatra was reputed to have boasted to Mark Antony that she could serve up a very expensive meat. One course was only a cup of strong vinegar; she dropped into it one of her pearls, let it dissolve and drank the mixture. Vinegar can dissolve a pearl, but only very slowly unless the pearl is crushed first.
St Peter - Show with keys because Christ has given him the keys to heaven. The cockerel in the picture represents his betrayal of Christ.
St Matthew - Show writing his gospels with the guidance of an angel. Matthew was a tax collector.
All by Batoni again, again with the exception of Cleopatra, Mark Antony and the Pearl which is by Pittoni.
The final painting in the room is this one, also a Pittoni, it is called Venus giving arms to Aeneaus (Mars and Venus). Mars was a lover of Venus. He gives her his sword to show he has been conquered by love; Venus is sending away the blindfolded Cupid - his help is not needed. The Renaissance depicted the relationship between Mars and Venus as an allegory of strife overcome by love. Sometimes such paintings commemorate a betrothal.
I hope that you enjoyed learning some more about these paintings and getting to see them!
I am joining with Barbara at Coastal Ripples for Paint Monthly - sorry to be late Barbara!