The Florentine artist Bernardino Barbatelli, known as Il Poccetti was a student of Michele Tosini and first employed to paint decorative grottesche on the facades of Florentine churches.

This monumental design represents the Medici arms flanked by allegorical figures of Justice (with a sword) and Wisdom (with a mirror), surmounted by the grand ducal crown and a blank cartouche below. As the sheet is squared for transfer, it was evidently used, probably for an architectural stemma on the facade of a building, or possibly as part of a heraldic tapestry. This impressive composition is expressive of the emergence of the Early Baroque, and is directly associated with one of the principal Italian dynasties. It is the first work by Poccetti to be acquired by the V&A and was presented as a gift by the Art Fund (Max Hervey Bequest).

Provenance

Comte d'Oultremont, Southern Netherlands in the 18th century; by descent until 1980s; private collection, Brussels, 1993; Pascal Ruys-Raquez; Christie's, 2005; Colnaghi. This work was vetted by the Art Loss Register in 2008.


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