Count Ambrozy Migazzy. Anonymous Collection, US, as Leonardo da Vinci. (E. & A. Silberman Galleries, New York); sold to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation on 20 October 1952; gift to the New Orleans Museum of Art in 1961, no. 61.73.
Venus and Cupid
New Orleans, La., Isaac Delgado Museum of Art (61.73), since 1953.(1) Wood. 50 3/8 x 38 in. (128 x 96.5 cm.). Poor condition; abraded throughout; cleaned 1953. The attribution to Beccafumi,(2) about 1530, is based largely on the luministic treatment of the scenes in the background: Vulcan at his forge, with Mercury, and diabolic scenes among the rocks and caves above. These background scenes find stylistic parallels in Beccafumi's Christ in Limbo (Accademia, Siena) and St. Michael Combating Lucifer (Church of the Carmine, Siena). But the foreground setting, the plant growth and the animals, is more suggestive of North Italian work, while the Venus is a derivation from Leonardo's Leda. Birds in K1932 have been identified as a swallow, on a branch at upper right; a flying goldfinch, below this; a stilt, the large bird on the ground at right; a blackbird, nearby; and two more goldfmches, on the ground, one at the left, below Cupid, and one at the right of Venus' left foot.(3) Jasmine entwines the tree trunk and the body of Venus. About half a century later Palma Giovane signed a painting of the same subject now in the Cassel Gemäldegalerie. There Venus with Cupid reclines in a richly draped foreground, while Vulcan with two helpers toils at his forge in the left background.' Provenance: Count Ambrozy Migazzy, Hungary. American Private Collection, as Leonardo. E. and A. Silberman Galleries, New York –exhibited: 'Leonardo da Vinci Loan Exhibition,' Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, Calif., June 3-July 1, 1949, no. 69 of catalogue by W. E. Suida, as Beccafumi. Kress acquisition, 1952.
(1) Catalogue by W. E. Suida, 1953, p. 32, and by P. Wescher, 1966, p. 34, as Beccafumi. (2) The attribution to Beccafumi was made by Suida (see under Provenance and note 1, above). D. Sanminiatelli (in Burlington Magazine, vol. XCIX, 1957, p. 402 n. 7) thinks an attribution to Pacchia preferable, if indeed the painting is Sienese. Later Sanminiatelli (Domenico Beccafumi, 1967, p. 172) suggests Gerolamo Genga as the more likely painter of K1932. (3) H. Friedmann (in letter of Feb. 26, 1970) confirms these identifications. (4) The Cassel painting was kindly called to my attention by Dr. Friedmann.