Colnaghi Foundation Journal 03 - Page 130

Due donne virili: Laura Martinozzi, Angelica Kauffman, and a rediscovered drawing by Andrea Lanzani
It is likely that Boringdon was advised by Reynolds,
and that he introduced Reynolds to Kauffman. Their
relationship was such that Boringdon was mentioned
in Reynolds’s pocket books with greater frequency
than any other caller or sitter; and Reynolds, one of
the most active marchands amateurs of his time may
have encouraged his friend Kauffman to sell the
albums. It is unlikely that Kauffman sold the albums
to pay off her bigamist husband, Count Frederick
de Horn, whom she married in 1767.10 A separation
agreement had already been agreed in 1768, and it
is doubtful that any financial outlay was necessary
after that date (if indeed there ever had been one).11
Kauffman was, however, famously careful with
money, and – having used the volume for her own
artistic education – she most probably felt it was no
longer of use to her and saw an opportunity when
it arose. A complete album, such as this, is a rare
survival of how drawings were kept and consulted in
the eighteenth century, for they were often quietly
denuded of their pages for sale, which was deemed
preferable to more obvious gaps on walls.
Almost a hundred years before Kauffman had bought
the album and set her eyes on the sketch of Laura
Martinozzi, Laura was made Regent for her son,
a position of power to which she had not aspired
(unlike Kauffman who consciously strove to succeed
in an almost exclusively male dominated sphere). As
one of the “Mazarinettes” (one of the seven nieces
of Cardinal Mazarin), she had been groomed for a
politically advantageous marriage. Born in Fano to a
Roman Count, Girolamo Martinozzi, and Margherita,
eldest sister of Mazarin, Laura was born an Italian,
but was also a naturalized citizen of France.12 She was
educated in Rome, but at the age of fourteen she was
taken to Paris where for two years she was given the
social and literary education of “une fille de France”.
Consequently, in 1655, Laura was married by proxy
to Alfonso, heir to Francesco I, Duke of Modena,
Due donne virili: Laura Martinozzi, Angelica Kauffman, and a rediscovered drawing by Andrea Lanzani
who was in need of a French ally against Spain.13
When Alfonso succeeded to the throne three years
later, they were beset by a series of tragedies which
must have defined Laura’s resilience and maturity;
she lost her first born, her brother-in-law, and her
uncle. In 1662 she lost her husband, and, at the age
of twenty-three, became Regent, as her son and
heir, Francesco (1660-1694), was only two at this
time. Her government was defined by her religious
zeal and was one of peace, with conflict resolved
through negotiation rather than combat. She
restored Modena’s economic stability, embarking
on a series of ecclesiastical and secular architectural
commissions, notably the rebuilding of San
Agostino, the mausoleum of the Estensi, enlarging
the Ducal Palace and the construction of the
church of San Carlo. A woman of great humility,
“la duchessa padrona” used this economic upturn to
establish charitable foundations to help the poor,
supported by the convent of the Salesiane, whose
convent buildings she founded. She also embarked
on a religiously-charged campaign to restore
altarpieces to churches, although remarkably the
gallery of pictures in the Ducal Palace survived.14
The austerity of her rule meant that her popularity
was not universal and, in 1673, whilst she was in
London negotiating the marriage of her daughter,
the equally pious Maria Beatrice (later Queen of
England and known as Mary of Modena) to James,
Duke of York, a group of disaffected nobles seized
power on behalf of Francesco. They were driven by
Cesare Ignazio, Marquess of Montecchio, a volatile,
ambitious and unjust despot, who had managed
to subordinate and control his fragile charge. As
befitted her character, Laura tried to adapt to the
new regime, but could not reconcile herself to the
malevolent forces influencing her son, and therefore
left Modena, spending the rest of her years travelling
between Brussels, Padua, Loreto, and Rome.
Fig. 2 / Andrea Lanzani,
Studies of Drapery, Hands,
and an Angel’s Head, ca.
1687, red chalk on faded
blue paper, 43 x 32 cm,
Saltram, The Morley
Collection, National Trust.


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