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Alessandro Turchi called l’Orbetto

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Alessandro Turchi called l’Orbetto

Venus & Cupid

oil on slate, 50 x 40 cm

This exquisitely rendered painting of Venus & Cupid on slate was produced by Turchi during his first few years in Rome on behalf of a private collector in circa 1615. Its wonderful state of preservation and the intimately erotic nature of its composition add further weight to this having been prized and carefully kept in a private home in the so-called “Studiolo” or private art gallery. Much about this work harks back to earlier styles of depiction, the elaborate hairstyle adorned with pearls takes us back to late 16th century Florence and a distinctly Roman Mannerist style reminiscent of the work of the “Cavalier d’Arpino” and Perin del Vaga infuses the composition. The choice of slate echoes the vogue for this support in Rome during the previous century, thanks to the example set by Sebastiano del Piombo. Slate is particularly desirable as a support for painting since it crystalises the paint, forcing the artist to use smooth, firm brush strokes which achieve an almost sculpted effect which combined with the extremely flat surface of the stone, lends the colours extra jewel-like luminosity.

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