Friday, September 15, 2017

Allegorical Paintings from the Seventeenth Century

Bartolomeo Manfredi
Allegory of the Four Seasons
ca. 1610
oil on canvas
Dayton Art Institute

Hendrik van Balen and Jan Brueghel the Younger
Allegory of the Virtuous Life
ca. 1625-26
oil on panel
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Willem van der Vliet
An Allegory
oil on canvas
private collection

"Walter Benjamin made a decisive step forward in our understanding of the Baroque when he showed that allegory was not a failed symbol, or an abstract personification, but a power of figuration entirely different from that of the symbol: the latter combines the eternal and the momentary, nearly at the center of the world, but allegory uncovers nature and history according to the order of time.  It produces a history from nature and transforms history into nature in a world that no longer has a center.  If we consider the logical relation of a concept to its object, we discover that the linkage can be surpassed in a symbolic and an allegorical way.  Sometimes we isolate, purify, or concentrate the object; we cut all its ties to the universe, and thus we raise it up, we put it in contact no longer with a simple concept, but with an Idea that develops this concept morally and aesthetically.  Sometimes, on the contrary, the object itself is broadened according to a whole network of natural relations.  The object itself overflows its frame in order to enter into a cycle or a series, and now the concept is what is found increasingly compressed, interiorized, wrapped in an instance that can ultimately be called "personal." 

– from The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque by Gilles Deleuze, originally published in 1988, translated by Tom Conley and published in English by University of Minnesota Press in 1993

Anthony van Dyck
Allegorical Portrait of Venetia, Lady Digby
oil on canvas
National Portrait Gallery, London

Allegory of Painting and Sculpture
oil on canvas
Palazzo Barberini, Rome

Simon Vouet
Allegory of Wealth
oil on canvas
Louvre, Paris

Johann Heinrich Schönfeld
Allegory of Time, Chronos and Eros
oil on canvas
Palazzo Barberini, Rome

Simon de Vos
Allegory of the Five Senses
oil on copper
private collection

Laurent de La Hyre
Allegory of Music
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Bernardino Mei
Allegory of Justice
oil on canvas
private collection

Luca Giordano
Peter Paul Rubens painting an Allegory of Peace
ca. 1660
oil on canvas
Prado, Madrid

Jacob Jordaens
Allegory of the Poet
ca. 1660
oil on canvas
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Francesco Solimena
Allegory of Rule
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Sebastiano Ricci
Allegory of Marcantonio Colonna's Victory at Lepanto
ceiling fresco
Palazzo Colonna, Rome