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A Masked Lady

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Venice (city), Italy (painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700-ca. 1710 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Carlevarijs, born 1663 - died 1730 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased from the funds of Captain H. B. Murray's bequest.

  • Museum number:

    P.72-1938

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case WD, shelf 213

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A study of a lady wearing a pink and white dress with laced bodice and long sleeves and wearing a mask, known as a volto or larva and holding a fan in her left hand. This work is part of an album of fifty-three sketches by Carlevarijs which includes figures he appears to have painted in the open air in preparation for insertion into formal compositions. This figure reappears for example in the boat on the far right side of the The Bucintoro Departing from S. Marco now in The Getty Museum, Los Angeles and in the left foreground of The Piazza San Marco in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection.

Physical description

A study of a lady wearing a mask, known as a volto or larva, holding a fan in her left hand and wearing a pink and white dress with laced bodice and long sleeves. This work is part of an album of fifty-three sketches by Carlevarijs which includes figures he appears to have painted in the open air in preparation for insertion into formal compositions. This figure reappears for example in the boat on the far right side of the The Bucintoro Departing from S. Marco now in the Getty Museum, Los Angeles and in the left foreground of The Piazza San Marco now in a private collection.

Place of Origin

Venice (city), Italy (painted)

Date

ca. 1700-ca. 1710 (painted)

Artist/maker

Carlevarijs, born 1663 - died 1730 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Height: 17.2 cm, Width: 9.3 cm

Object history note

Purchased, 1938

Historical significance: This is a study of a lady wearing a mask known as a volto or larva which was usually held in place by biting on to a small ‘tongue’ on the back, is a preparatory study used for example for the figure standing in the boat on the far right side of the The Bucintoro Departing from S. Marco (The Getty Museum, 86.PA.600) and for a figure in the Piazza San Marco (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection) . She holds a fan in her left hand and wears a pink and white dress with laced bodice and long sleeves. It is one of Carlevarijs’ studies known as macchiette, the quick sketches he made with daubs of colour to indicate animated Venetian figures. Carlevarijs first drew the figures on paper, copying them from people he saw in the streets and then transformed them into lively oil sketches, such as this one, which represent a crucial part of his artistic process. Studies such as these would ultimately form part of a Venetian veduta or prospect painting, such as the Getty Bucintoro, which is a genre Carlevarijs is generally credited with establishing in the eighteenth century. He populated his vedute with elegantly posed and well-dressed figures, concealing the decline of the Republic under the splendour of the pageants, festivals and regattas he often represented. Carlevarijs' sketches also demonstrate his great influence on Canaletto, whose figures and their arrangement often show a marked debt to the older Master such as in Venice: The Feast Day of Saint Roch ca. 1735 (National Gallery, London, NG937).

Historical context note

This work is part of an album of fifty-three sketches by Carlevarijs which includes figures he appears to have painted in the open air in preparation for insertion into formal compositions. The figures and objects appear frequently and virtually without variations in his paintings between 1707 and 1726 and are closely related to his etchings of 1703 in Le fabriche e vedute di Venetia. Composed of 104 views of Venice, the etchings formed the most complete survey of the fabric of the city ever produced and served as a model for Venetian view painters throughout the 18th century. Carlevarijs' sketches reveal a particular attention to costume, highlighting Venetian style of dress which was highly regarded in fashionable circles throughout Europe from the 16th through the 18th centuries. The maritime republic imported raw materials from the Far East and exported finished products including highly desirable velvets and brocades. The taste for Venetian textiles persisted into the 18th century. In this period however, Venice's power was dwindling and her government corrupt. The city nevertheless sought to present a facade of a wealthy city peopled with bright and gregarious multitude engaged in pleasurable pursuits. As Carlevarijs stated in the dedication to Le fabriche, he intended his paintings to 'rendere più facile alla notitzia de Paesi stranieri le Venete Magnificenze' [render more clearly the magnificence of Venice to foreign countries]

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'A Masked Lady', Luca Carlevarijs, ca. 1700-ca. 1710

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

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 56-63, cat. no. 60 (P.26-1938 - P.78-1938)
The following is the full text of the entry:

"Luca CARLEVARIJS (1663-1730)
Venetian School
Born at Udine, he moved to Venice with his sister in 1679, and later visited Rome. He was influenced by Sebastiano Ricci (1659-1734). A mathematician and architect as well as a painter and engraver, he was the first Venetian to paint vedute (mainly for a foreign and diplomatic market), his predecessors having been foreigners such as Joseph Heintz (in Venice by 1625). There is no evidence for the view that Canaletto was taught by him, though Canaletto was plainly influenced by his works. His paintings are comparatively rare.

60
FIFTY-THREE STUDIES
Canvas
(except where otherwise indicated)

P.72-1938 A masked lady 6 3/4 x 3 5/8 (17.2 x 9.3)
Rizzi (1967): No.47, fig.44

These well-known sketches by Carlevarijs include figures which he used frequently and virtually without variations in his paintings between 1707 and 1726. In addition, some of the figures in his etchings of 1703, Le fabriche e vedute di Venetia, are related to them (Pope-Hennessy, 1938). He seems therefore to have used them during the greater part of his active life as a painter. They demonstrate his influence on Canaletto, whose figures and their arrangement in some of his early paintings show a marked debt to Carlevarijs, in, for example, The Doge visiting the Church and Scuola di S. Rocco of circa 1735 (London, N. G.) (Constable, 1962).
Among the figures which are used most often, P.68 appears in: Piazza S. Marco con ciarlatini (Berlin-Dahlem, Rizzi, 1967, pls. 104-07), Piazza S. Marco with a market (Rome, formerly Lazzaroni Collection; Rizzi, 1967, pls. 101-03), Piazzetta seen from the Molo (Milan, private collection; Rizzi, 1967, pl. 42), Regatta on the Grand Canal (Copenhagen, Frederiksberg Castle; Rizzi, 1967, pls. 35-7), Piazzetta from the Sea (formerly Munich, Collection Drey; Rizzi, 1964, pl. xxxii), Molo with the Zecca (Rome, Galleria Nazionale; Rizzi, 1967, pl. 57 f.), Piazza (Poznan; Mauroner, 1945, fig. 25). The left-hand figure of P.65 appears in, amongst other paintings: The Duke of Manchester's Entry into the Doge's Palace (Birmingham, City Art Gallery; Rizzi, 1967, pls, 28-30), and the other version of this subject (The Hague; Rizzi, 1967, pls. 31-4), Piazza S. Marco (Balcarres; Rizzi, 1967, pls, 96-9), Piazza S. Marco (Kiplin Hall; Rizzi, 1967, pl. 119 f.), Il bucintoro in bacino S. Marco (Rome, formerly Lazzaroni Collection; Rizzi, 1967, pls. 43-4), Riva degli schiavoni (Milan, Collection Fano; Rizzi, 1967, pls. 54-6), Piazza S. Marco con ciarlatini (Berlin Dahlem; Rizzi, 1967, pls, 104-07). P. 76 can be seen in: Piazza S. Marco (Kiplin Hall; Rizzi, 1967, pl. 119 f.), The Duke of Manchester's Entry into the Doge's Palace (The Hague; Rizzi, 1967, pls. 30-4), and Piazzetta seen from the Malo (Milan, private collection; Rizzi, 1967, pl. 42). P. 69 appears in the first two of those paintings, and P.72 in Piazza S. Marco (Hartford; Rizzi, 1967, pls, 115-16), and Piazza S. Marco (Kiplin Hall; Rizzi, 1967, pl. 119 f.).
The earliest dateable painting, The Duke of Manchester's Entry into the Doge's Palace, 1707 (Birmingham City Art Gallery) includes P.37, P.64, P.65 and P.69. Even more of the figures are used in The Reception of Count Colloredo (Dresden), dated by Rizzi to Colloredo's mission of 1726, rather than that of 1714: P.42, P.43, P.44, P.50, P.55, P.57, P.58, P.59, P.61, P.63, P.67.
This is not intended as a complete list of paintings in which the sketches were used, but it does demonstrate that once Carlevarijs had devised his principal figure types he used them again and again throughout his career. He presumably worked them up from pen and pencil sketches from life such as those also in the Museum (D.1352A-1887), several of which relate in general terms to the oil sketches.

Prov. Bought from Dr Vitale Bloch in 1938.
Exh. Carlevarijs, disegni, incisioni e bozzetti,Udine, 1964: P.37, P.48, P.50, P.55, P.57, p.65, p.68, p.69 [refers to museum numbers]; Life in xviii century Venice,Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, 1966: P.36, P.37, P.38, P.41, P.43, P.44, P.48, P.54, P.57, P.66, P.69, P.70.
Lit. J. Pope-Hennessy, 'A group of studies by Luca Carlevarijs' in Burl. Mag.,lxxiii, 1938, p. 126 f.; Anon., 'Early Venetian Costume Studies' in Listener,22 September 1938, p. 613; F. Mauroner, Luca Carlevarijs,2nd ed., 1945, p. 24, figs. 32 (P.57), 33 (P.55), 34 (P.69); M. Levey, Painting in xviii century Venice,1959, p. 79; W. G. Constable, Canaletto,i, 1962, pp. 70, 73 f., pl. 9 a (P.69) and b (P.55); A. Rizzi, Disegni, incisioni e bozzetti del Carlevarijs,cat. delta Mostra,Udine, 1964, pp. 53-7, figs. 113-20; A. Rizzi, Luca Carlevarijs,1967, p. 97 f., figs. 1-53 (Bozzetti)."
John Pope-Hennessy, 'A Group of Studies by Luca Carlevarijs', The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, Vol. 73, No. 426 (Sep., 1938), pp. 126-131.
Carlevarijs, disegni, incisioni e bozzetti, Aldo Rizzi (ed.) Udine and Rome, 1963-4.
Although this work was not part of the exhibition, it derives from the same album as V&A pictures that were lent including the following museum numbers: P.37-1938, P.48-1938, P.50-1938, P.55-1938, P.57-1938, P.65-1938, P.68-1938, P. 69-1938.
Life in XVIII century Venice, Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, 1966.
Although this work was not part of the exhibition, it derives from the same album as V&A pictures that were lent including the following museum numbers: P.36-1938, P.37-1938, P.38-1938, P.41-1938, P.43-1938, P.44-1938, P.48-1938, P.54-1938, P.57-1938, P.66-1938, P.69-1938, P.70-1938.
Anon., 'Early Venetian Costume Studies' in Listener,22 September 1938, p. 613.
F. Mauroner, Luca Carlevarijs,2nd ed., 1945, p. 24, figs. 32 (P.57), 33 (P.55), 34 (P.69)
Although this work is not discussed specifically, it derives from the same album as works that are. The sketches that are discussed include the following museum numbers: pp. 32 (P.57-1938), 33 (P.55-1938), 34 (P.69-1938)
M. Levey, Painting in XVIII century Venice, 1959, p. 79.
W. G. Constable, Canaletto,i, 1962, pp. 70, 73 f., pl. 9 a (P.69) and b (P.55)
Although this work is not discussed specifically, it derives from the same album as works that are. The sketches that are discussed include the following museum numbers: (P.69-1038) and b (P.55-1938).
A. Rizzi, Luca Carlevarijs,1967, p. 97 f., figs. 1-53 (Bozzetti).
A. Rizzi, Disegni, incisioni e bozzetti del Carlevarijs, Exh. Cat. Udine, 1964, pp. 53-7, figs. 113-20.
Charles Beddington, Luca Carlevarijs : views of Venice Exh. Cat. (San Diego, Calif. : Timken Museum of Art, c. 2001), p. 19, fig. 17.
Note that though the work was not lent to this exhibition it is discussed in the catalogue.
Isabella Reale and Dario Succi, Luca Carlevarijs e la veduta veneziana del Settecento Exh. Cat., Milano : Electa, c1994.
General Ref. V&A objects not lent to exhibition.
See pp. 99-144 for in depth discussion of figural studies.
Venice, 1700-1800: an exhibition of Venice and the eighteenth century (The Detroit Institute of Arts [and] John Herron Art Museum), 1952, pp. 9-12, 23-26.
General Ref. V&A objects not lent to exhibition.
Luca Carlevarijs, Le fabriche e vedute di Venetia Exh. Cat. , Venezia : Marsilio, 1995-1996.
General Reference, not lent to exhibition
The Glory of Venice : art in the eighteenth century. Jane Martineau and Andrew Robison (eds.), Exhibition held at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, September 15 - December 14, 1994 and at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., January 29 - April 23, 1995. pp. 93-97, 443-444, no. 21.
The following is the full text of the entry:

These drawings [P. 51-1938; P. 71-1938 and P. 72-1938] represent three figure types that are also to be found in several of Carlevaris's paintings and etchings, populating his compositions with characters sketched directly from life. It is difficult to form a chronology for Carlevaris's drawings because he showed little sign of stylistic development, few of his early drawings survive, and none is documented. The [sic] have a realistic liveliness and subtle humour that anticipates figures by the Tiepolos and Pietro Longhi. Important holdings of Carlevaris's drawings are at the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Correr Museum in Venice. The 18th century volume of drawings at the Victoria and Albert Museum from which these drawings are taken, entitled Studi figurati diversi di Luca Callevaris, contains 32 sheets of drawings of men and women in Venetian costume, of which only two are considered to be early. O.T. [Olimpia Theoldi]

NB. These works are mistakenly described as drawings in pen and ink over pencil or charcoal in the exhibition catalogue. Consequently, the provenance, exhibition and bibliographical information provided in the catalogue are also all incorrect.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1938, London: Board of Education, 1939.
The full text of the record is as follows:

'CARLEVARIJS, Luca (1665-1731).

A collection of Venetian sketches (53), c.1703-1714, including figure studies, gondolas, etc., some of them preliminary sketches for figures in the following paintings by Carlevarijs: "The Reception of Count Colloredo", 1714, (Dresden: Germäldegalerie, No. 553); "The Entry of Lord Manchester into the Doge's Palace" 1707, (Collection of the Duke of Manchester, Kimbolton); "Veduta della Piazzetta" (Collection of the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, London); "Ceremonia Veneziana" (Bergamo: Accademia Carrara); "La Piazzetta" (Posen: Museum No. 41); "The Doge's Palace, Venice" (Haversham Sale, Christie's, Feb. 22 1924, Lot 78); "Piazza San Marco," (Palkse Sale, Naples, March 5-10, 1928, Lot 683); "La Piazzetta" (Agosti e Mendoza Sale, Milan, Jan. 25-29, 1937, Lot 183); "Veduta della Piazzetta" (formerly in the Salvadori Collection, Venice); "Le Fabriche e Vedute di Venetia" (105 plates drawn and engraved by Carlevarijs and published in Venice, 1703).
Oil on paper and canvas.
E.26 - 78-1938
Purchased from the funds of Captain H. B. Murray's bequest.'

Exhibition History

Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces 1600-1800 from the V&A (Art Gallery of Western Australia 24/09/2011-09/01/2012)
Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces 1600-1800 from the V&A (National Museum of Korea (Seoul) 02/05/2011-28/08/2011)
The Glory of Venice : art in the eighteenth century. (National Gallery of Art, Washington 23/04/1995-31/01/2029)
The Glory of Venice : art in the eighteenth century. (Royal Academy of Arts 14/12/1994-30/09/2015)

Materials

Canvas; Oil paint

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Woman; Mask; Fans (costume accessories)

Categories

Clothing; Paintings

Collection code

PDP

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Qr_O134504
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