Colnaghi Collections_Vol 01 - Page 131

The result was a body of work that emphasized states of mind,
reflecting an aesthetic of the emotions of which he was the
principal exponent in Florentine Seicento painting. Cigoli is in
fact the source of the remarkable pictorial surface effects in the
clothing, clearly derived from Venetian art.
Stylistically typical of Allori are the heavy eyelids beneath the long
line of the eyebrows. The large, deep-set, red-rimmed eyes, which
are almond-shaped and half-closed, transmit languor, as in the
famous oval face of the Giuditta-Mazzafirra which, in the version
in the Galleria Palatina in Florence (fig. 17.1), is the paradigm of
Allori’s rhetorical style both with regard to the technique and the
physiognomy of his female heroines.1 The miniature portrait of
Geri della Rena in the Gallerie degli Uffizi (inv. 1890, no. 3960, 6.7
x 5.1 cm) reveals the same enigmatic look, delicate modulations
of volume and soft folds of flesh that owe so much to Cigoli. The
choice of format, pose, and the chiaroscuro modulation of the
physical features all recall Allori’s Portrait of Cosimo II de’Medici in the
Palazzo Pitti in Florence, a work documented to 1617 (fig. 17.2).
Fig. 17.2 Cristofano Allori, Cosimo de Medici II, oil on canvas, Florence,
Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti.
The reappearance of this miniature confirms the statement
by Allori’s biographer Filippo Baldinucci who, in his Notizie
de’professori del disegno, states that Allori painted “molti piccoli ritratti
in rame di gentildonne, cavalieri e dame”,2 indicating an important
activity in the field of miniature portraits in addition to the artist’s
easel paintings in this genre.
The focus on the sitter’s state of mind and the pictorial mastery
in the way the ornamentation on the beautiful dress is executed
through touches of light allow for a dating to the first decade of
the Seicento. The freshness of the execution suggests that it may
have been painted from life.
F rancesca B aldassari
Fig. 17.1. Cristofano
Allori, Judith with the Head
of Holofernes, 1613, oil on
canvas, Florence, Galeria
Palatina, Palazzo Pitti.
On this painting see John Shearman, “Cristofano Allori’s Judith,” The Burlington
Magazine 121 (1970): pp. 2-10.
Filippo Baldinucci, Notizie de’professori del disegno da Cimabue in qua (1681-1728), 5
vols. (Florence: V. Battelli & Co., 1845-1847), III, p. 724.


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