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Pietro Paolini
Lot No. 631 
Pietro Paolini

Pietro Paolini

(Lucca 1603–1681)
Portrait of a Young Page,
oil on canvas, oval, 76 x 61 cm, framed

Mansi Collection, Lucca (?)

A. Ottani, Per un caravaggesco toscano: Pietro Paolini (1603-1681) in Arte Antica e Moderna, 21, 1963, p. 34;
A. Ottani, Integrazioni al Catalogo del Paolini, in Arte Antica e Moderna, 30, 1965, p. 185, ill. plate 70c;
B. Nicolson, The International Caravaggesque Movement: Lists of pictures by Caravaggio and his followers throughout Europe from 1590 to 1650, Oxford 1979, p. 77;
P. Giusti Maccari, Pietro Paolini pittore lucchese, Lucca 1987, p. 130, no. 47, p. 131, ill. 47;
B. Nicolson, Caravaggism in Europe, second edition revised and enlarged by L. Vertova, Turin 1990, Vol. I, p. 155

The present work is one of a group of five oval paintings that belong together in terms of style and homogeneity, and date to the first half of the 17th century. In addition to the young page depicted here, the other paintings show older figures; a Lute Maker and a Violin Maker working on an instrument, an Old Woman Sewing, and an Old Woman Spinning (see P. Giusti Maccari, Pietro Paolini pittore lucchese, Lucca 1987, p. 130-132). In these genre paintings, the artist introduces an instructive, allegorical meaning, probably on the subject of harmony. According to Del Bravo, the paintings of the lute and violin makers symbolise the philosophy of Seneca, in which age represents the pinnacle of wisdom, achieved through the long and lonely search for harmony (cf. C. Del Bravo, Verso i Carracci e verso Valentin, Florence 1979, p.42). The page is holding something in his hands which is no longer identifiable, but probably the string of an instrument. Thus this portrait of the page completes the allegorical programme, juxtaposed against the older figures, he represents youth which, when properly educated, can achieve harmony and serve those already in their later years. The harmony and music are a means of reaching a higher spiritual level. Giusti Maccari dates the present work, the Lute Maker and the Violin Maker all to the 1640s, and believes the paintings of the old women sewing and painting are later works. Ottani assigns the series a somewhat earlier date, in the 1630s.

Although there is no precise documentation, we can assume that the present work and its counterparts were part of the Mansi collection, having been identified as the Studi series which appears in the inventory of the Marchese Giovan Battista Mansi, even when the dimensions do not concur (the Studi in the Mansi collection measure 55x38cm, dimensions, however, at variance with Paolini’s usual format and therefore not very convincing).

Born in Lucca, Pietro Paolini was sent to Rome in 1619 to be educated, and here he was a pupil of Angelo Caroselli. Artistic life in Rome at the beginning of the 17th century was diverse, and the masters of Caravaggism, the Bolognese and Florentine artists all competed for major commissions from the Pope and aristocracy. In Caroselli’s workshop, Pietro Paolini had the opportunity to study the various schools and techniques, and stylistically his work displays great flexibility. The circle around Bartolomeo Manfredi and other Caravaggists enjoyed great influence at that time. In 1628 he went to Venice and his paintings reflected the influence of Veronese’s atmospheric painting. In 1631 he returned to Lucca where, based on his experiences, he created his own original style. He executed many cabinet paintings, most containing musical and allegorical subject matter. Around 1650 he founded an academy which taught the contemporary trends of Realism. Numerous artists including Simone del Tintore, Girolamo Scaglia and Antonio Franchi were trained at the Academy.

Specialist: Mark MacDonnell

Pietro Paolini
Convert currency
  • realized price**
    EUR 24,700
    USD 28,000
  • estimate
    EUR 20,000 to 30,000
    USD 23,000 to 34,000

Mon.-Fri.: 9.00am - 6.00pm (CET)
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Old Master Paintings
Date: 17.04.2013, 17:00
Location: Palais Dorotheum Vienna
Exhibition: 06.04. - 17.04.2013

**Purchase price incl. all charges, commissions and taxes

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