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Tempera painting - Tuccia (Chastity)
  • Tuccia (Chastity)
    Neroni, Bartolomeo, born 1500 - died 1571
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Tuccia (Chastity)

  • Object:

    Tempera painting

  • Place of origin:

    Siena, Italy (painted)

  • Date:

    mid 16th century (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Neroni, Bartolomeo, born 1500 - died 1571 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tempera on panel

  • Museum number:

    425-1869

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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A woman in classical dress with left breast exposed stands in a wooded landscape at the bank of a river carrying a large round sieve full of water. Bartolommeo Neroni, (known as il Riccio) (1505/15?- 1571) was a Sienese painter, illuminator, architect, stage designer and engineer. His earliest 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. Neroni most likely painted the two panels depicting standing women holding attributes (425-1869; 426-1869) in the V&A collection 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). 425-1869 depicts the ancient Roman maiden Tuccia, held up as an epitome of Chastity by the ancient authors Valerius Maximus, Petrarch and Pliny as, having been accused of incest, she successfully entreated the Roman goddess Vesta to help her demonstrate her innocence by allowing her to carry a sieve of water from the Tiber River to the temple of the goddess without spilling a drop.

Physical description

A woman in classical dress with left breast exposed stands in a wooded landscape at the bank of a river carrying a large round sieve full of water

Place of Origin

Siena, Italy (painted)

Date

mid 16th century (painted)

Artist/maker

Neroni, Bartolomeo, born 1500 - died 1571 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Tempera on panel

Dimensions

Height: 74.3 cm estimate, Width: 45 cm estimate

Object history note

Purchased for £4 from the painter W. B. Spence in Florence, 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 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 (425-1869; 426-1869) in the V&A collection 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). 425-1869 has long been described as a personification of Chastity but she may be more precisely identified as the ancient Roman maiden Tuccia, an exemplar of that virtue, and her pose suggests she orginally formed the right hand panel of the series. Tuccia is held up as an epitome of Chastity by the ancient authors Valerius Maximus, Petrarch and Pliny as, having been accused of incest, she successfully entreated the Roman goddess Vesta to help her demonstrate her innocence by allowing her to carry a sieve of water from the Tiber River to the temple of the goddess without spilling a drop. The identity of the central (missing) maiden remains unknown, although Sulpitia, praised by Bocaccio as the most highly chaste Roman matron, is a strong possibility. Like Tuccia, Sulpitia is among the illustrious women praised by Valerius Maximus and Pliny, and she appears together with Claudia Quinta (The Walters Art. Mus.; Baltimore; NG Washington respectively) in another series of virtuous women painted in the 1490s for a Sienese patrician palace.

Historical context note

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.

Descriptive line

Tempera painting, 'Tuccia (Chastity)', Bartolomeo Neroni, mid 16th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, pp. 203-204, cat. no. 251.
The following is the full text of the entry:

Bartolommeo NERONI (ll Riccio) (? 1500-71/73)
Sienese School
He worked mainly in Siena, and also in Monte Oliveto, Lucca, and elsewhere. A pupil of Baldessare Peruzzi, he was strongly influenced by Sodoma, whose daughter he married in 1543, and by Beccafumi. His principal work is the Coronation of the Virgin in the Pinacoteca at Siena.

251
CHASTITY
Tempera on panel
29 ¼ x 17 ¾ (74.3 x 45)
425-1869

This allegorical figure and its companion piece (426-1869; no. 252) were attributed to Beccafumi by Berenson (1932), Venturi (1932) and Gibellino-Krasceninnicowa (1933). The latter related them to the Sibyl in the Palazzo Doria, Rome, and the Penelope in the Episcopal Seminary in Venice (Gibellino-Krasceninnicowa, pls, xii, xv). Yet although they are similar to these figures, they are clearly inferior to them and Pope- Hennessy (1940) argued convincingly that they were most unlikely to be by Beccafumi. He attributed them to Neroni and compared in particular the head of Chastity with that of the sinner in the Woman taken in Adultery in Neroni's fresco of 1536 at Monte Oliveto. This attribution was accepted by Sanminiatelli (1967).
The significance of the sieve as a symbol of Chastity lies in its connection with the principal Vestal Virgin (C. Ripa, Iconologia, 1603, p. 66 f.). It was her task to carry the newly-lit fire on a sieve into the Temple of Vesta during the annual re-lighting ceremony. The allegory, therefore, derives from a knowledge of classical literature, although it does not appear that the Vestal Virgins were portrayed with a sieve in classical art.

Prov. Bought for £4 from the painter W. B. Spence in Florence in 1869.
Exh. Between Renaissance and Baroque, European art 1520-1600, Manchester City Art Gallery, 1965, no. 161.
Lit. B. Berenson, Italian pictures of the Renaissance, 1932, p. 65; A. Venturi, Storia dell'arte italiana, ix, pt 5, 1932, p, 450, figs. 253-54; M. Gibellino-Krascenninicowa, Il Beccafumi, 1933, p. 67 f., pls, xvi, xvii; J. Pope-Hennessy in Burl. Mag., lxxvi, 1940, p. 115 f., pi. ii; D. Sanminiatelli, Domenico Beccafumi, 1967, p. 171.
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.
Reproduces both V&A pictures, attributes them to Beccafumi and erroneously states that they are in the Bayonne Museum
Maria Gibellino Krasceninnicowa, Il Beccafumi, con prefazione di A. Venturi. Siena, Istituto communale d'arte e di storia, 1933. p. 67 f., pls, xvi, xvii.
J. Pope-Hennessy, 'Beccafumi in the V. & A. Museum' in Burlington Magazine vol. 76, no. 445, (April, 1940), p. 115 f., pi. ii.
Donato Sanminiatelli, Beccafumi, Milano : Bramante, 1967, p. 171.

Exhibition History

Between Renaissance and Baroque: European art 1520-1600 (Manchester Art Gallery 01/01/1965-31/12/1965)

Production Note

Attributed to Domenico Beccafumi by Berenson, this painting and its companion piece (426-1869) were convincingly reattributed to Neroni by John Pope-Hennessy in 1940.

Materials

Panel; Tempera

Techniques

Painting

Subjects depicted

Landscape; Rome; Chastity; Tuccia; River beds

Categories

Paintings

Collection code

PDP

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Qr_O125590
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