Claudia Quinta (Confidence) thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Claudia Quinta (Confidence)

Tempera Painting
mid 16th century (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Bartolommeo Neroni, (known as il Riccio) (1505/15?- 1571) was a Sienese painter, illuminator, architect, stage designer and engineer. His earliest surviving documented works reveal the influence of Il Sodoma while his later paintings also demonstrate a close familiarity with works by Domenico Beccafumi and Baldassare Peruzzi who were also working in Siena at that time. His figures have the sharp-nosed features favoured by Beccafumi, the soft limpid eyes painted by Sodoma and the bodies and monumental spatial composition of Peruzzi. Neroni most likely painted the two panels depicting standing women holding attributes in the V&A collection (425-1869; 426-1869) as part of a series of three donne illustre or famous women in the poetic tradition of Petrarch and Bocaccio. These panels probably formed part of a painted series of decorations for a room in a palace and may have originally formed the back of a cassapanca or bench chest such as those painted by Beccafumi ca. 1519 for Francesco Petrucci (National Gallery, London, Doria Pamphilj, Rome). 426-1869 has long been described as a personification of Confidence but she may be more precisely identified as the ancient Roman maiden Claudia Quinta and her pose suggests she originally formed the right hand panel of the series. Claudia is praised in Pliny's chapter dedicated to 'The Most Chaste Matrons' which recounts how, when the vessel conveying the statue of Cybele became stuck in the mud in the Tiber river, and the soothsayers declared that none but a chaste woman could move it, Claudia, previously accused of unchastity, high handedly pulled the ship to safety.


Object details
Category
Object type
Materials and techniques
Tempera on panel
Brief description
Tempera painting, Claudia Quinta (Confidence), Bartolomeo Neroni (Il Riccio), mid 16th century
Physical description
A young woman in classical dress with right breast exposed stands by a river bank in a wooded landscape holding a miniature ship in both hands
Dimensions
  • Estimate height: 74.3cm
  • Estimate width: 45.7cm
Dimensions taken from Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800, C.M. Kauffmann, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1973
Style
Object history
Purchased for £4 from the painter W. B. Spence in Florence in 1869.



A note in the object file states that: 'The 2 ptgs. [425-1869; 426-1869] were removed with other ptgs. from the wall (West) of Rm. 108 (staircase) and stored temporarily in June 1917, when the Board of Education took over temporarily durint the rest of the war period, this portiono fht eMuseum for use as offices. F. W. Stokes'



Historical significance: Bartolommeo Neroni, (known as il Riccio) (1505/15?- 1571) was a Sienese painter, illuminator, architect, stage designer and engineer. His earliest surviving documented works, include illuminations for an Antiphonal, (signed, dated 1531–2, Genoa, Bib. Berio) and a fresco of The Departure of SS Maurus and Placid (1534) for the convent of Monte Oliveto Maggiore reveal the influence of Il Sodoma. His later paintings also demonstrate a close familiarity with works by Domenico Beccafumi and Baldassare Peruzzi who were also working in Siena at that time. His figures have the sharp-nosed features favoured by Beccafumi, the soft limpid eyes painted by Sodoma and the bodies and monumental spatial composition of Peruzzi. Neroni's name is associated with several important buildings in Siena and from 1552-55 he was primarily occupied with building fortifications and making military models and drawings.

Neroni most likely painted the two panels depicting standing women holding attributes in the V&A collection (425-1869; 426-1869) as part of a series of three donne illustre or famous women in the poetic tradition of Petrarch and Bocaccio. These panels probably formed part of a painted series of decorations for a room in a palace and may have originally formed the back of a cassapanca or bench chest such as those painted by Beccafumi ca. 1519 for Francesco Petrucci (National Gallery, London, Doria Pamphilj, Rome). 426-1869 has long been described as a personification of Confidence but she may be more precisely identified as the ancient Roman maiden Claudia Quinta and her pose suggests she originally formed the right hand panel of the series. Claudia is praised in Pliny's chapter dedicated to 'The Most Chaste Matrons' which recounts how when the vessel conveying the statue of Cybele became stuck in the mud in the Tiber river, and the soothsayers declared that none but a chaste woman could move it, Claudia, previously accused of unchastity, high handedly pulled the ship to safety. The identity of the third central (missing) maiden in the series remains unknown, although Sulpitia, praised by Bocaccio as the most highly chaste Roman matron, is a strong possibility. Like Claudia, Sulpitia is among the illustrious women praised by Pliny and appears together with Tuccia in Bocaccio's Famous Women. Appropriately, Claudia and Sulpitia appear together in another series of virtuous women painted in the 1490s for a Sienese patrician palace (NG Washington; The Walters Art. Mus., Baltimore, respectively).
Historical context
During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Italy, artists were often commissioned to create painted wooden furnishings for the domestic interior, especially for the camera (bedchamber) of wealthy private palaces. Such works were generally commissioned to celebrate a new marriage or the birth of a child and could include a lettiera (bed), spalliera or cornicioni (a painted frieze), a cassapanca (bench-chest) and a set of cassone (marriage chests) among other objects and furnishings. The decoration often included subjects associated with fertility, maternity, childbirth, marriage and fidelity and could include references to the patrons through inclusion of their coat of arms and heraldic colours, or of their personal motto or device.
Production
This allegorical figure and its companion piece (425-1869) were attributed to Domenico Beccafumi in the 1930s by Berenson, Venturi and Gibellino-Krasceninnicowa. John Pope-Hennessy convincingly attributed them to Neroni in 1940.
Subjects depicted
Place depicted
Literary references
  • Ovid, Fasti, iv.225-344
  • Livy, Ab urbe condita libri xxix.14.5-14
  • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis historia vii.34-120
  • Solinus, Collectanea rerum memorabilium I.126
Summary
Bartolommeo Neroni, (known as il Riccio) (1505/15?- 1571) was a Sienese painter, illuminator, architect, stage designer and engineer. His earliest surviving documented works reveal the influence of Il Sodoma while his later paintings also demonstrate a close familiarity with works by Domenico Beccafumi and Baldassare Peruzzi who were also working in Siena at that time. His figures have the sharp-nosed features favoured by Beccafumi, the soft limpid eyes painted by Sodoma and the bodies and monumental spatial composition of Peruzzi. Neroni most likely painted the two panels depicting standing women holding attributes in the V&A collection (425-1869; 426-1869) as part of a series of three donne illustre or famous women in the poetic tradition of Petrarch and Bocaccio. These panels probably formed part of a painted series of decorations for a room in a palace and may have originally formed the back of a cassapanca or bench chest such as those painted by Beccafumi ca. 1519 for Francesco Petrucci (National Gallery, London, Doria Pamphilj, Rome). 426-1869 has long been described as a personification of Confidence but she may be more precisely identified as the ancient Roman maiden Claudia Quinta and her pose suggests she originally formed the right hand panel of the series. Claudia is praised in Pliny's chapter dedicated to 'The Most Chaste Matrons' which recounts how, when the vessel conveying the statue of Cybele became stuck in the mud in the Tiber river, and the soothsayers declared that none but a chaste woman could move it, Claudia, previously accused of unchastity, high handedly pulled the ship to safety.
Associated object
Bibliographic references
  • Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 204, cat. no. 252.
  • Bernhard Berenson, Italian pictures of the renaissance Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1932, p. 65.
  • A. Venturi. Storia dell'arte italiana. 11. vols. (Milano : U. Hoepli, 1901-1940), vol. ix, pt. 5, 1932, p. 450, figs. 253-54
  • Maria Gibellino Krasceninnicowa, Il Beccafumi, con prefazione di A. Venturi. Siena, Istituto communale d'arte e di storia, 1933. p. 67f., pls. xvi, xvii.
  • J. Pope-Hennessy, 'Beccafumi in the V. & A. Museum' in Burlington Magazine vol. 76, no. 445, (April, 1940),pp. 110-123. esp. p. 115f, pl. ii.
  • Grossmann, F.G., Between Renaissance and Baroque: European art 1520-1600, Manchester: Manchester Art Gallery, 1965.
Collection
Accession number
426-1869

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Record createdJune 1, 2006
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