The J. Paul Getty Museum

Basin with Scenes from the Life of Cleopatra

Object Details

Title:

Basin with Scenes from the Life of Cleopatra

Artists/Makers:

After a sketch by Bernardo Strozzi (Italian, 1581 - 1644)

Perhaps modeled by Francesco Fanelli (Italian, about 1590 - after 1653)

Probably executed by an Unknown maker, Dutch or Flemish silversmith

Culture:

Italian

Place:

Genoa, Liguria, Italy (Place Created)

Date:

about 1620–1625

Medium:

Silver

Object Number:

85.DG.81

Dimensions:

75.6 cm (29 3/4 in.)

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Object Description

This large and elaborately molded silver basin depicts episodes from the story of Cleopatra, the legendary queen of Egypt, and the Roman leader, Marc Antony. Perhaps drawing from Plutarch's history, the artist frames the climactic event of Cleopatra committing suicide in the center, within a circular frieze of the Battle of Actium. The four oval cartouches on the rim represent important events related to Antony: at the top, Antony meets Octavian and Lepidus on an island in the river Lavinus to form the Triumvirate; on the right, Antony first sees Cleopatra when she arrives on an impressive barge on the river Cydnus; on the bottom, a banquet; and on the left, Antony kills himself.
 
Although the basin's design derives from a sketch by Genoese artist Bernardo Strozzi, the high relief of the figures, some of whom are modeled almost in the round, the Mannerist turbulence of the battle scene, and the use of depth and perspective indicate the work of a northern European artist, perhaps one from Flanders. The detail and delicacy of the silverwork of this basin suggest that it was ceremonial rather than functional; it was probably exhibited on a buffet on the most festive occasions.
 

Provenance
Provenance
about 1620 - 1631

Possibly commissioned by Doge Alessandro Giustiniani Longo, Genoese, 1554 - 1631 (Genoa, Italy), by descent to the Longhi Giustinani collection.

1631 - before 1868

Longhi Giustiniani collection (Italy)

by 1868 - before 1892

Chiara Cucchi Piantelli, Italian, (Genoa, Italy), mostly likely by descent within the family.
Source: Catalogue of the exhibition "Esposizione Artistico, Archeologico, Industriale aperta nelle Sale dell'Accademia Liguistica" at the Museo dell'Accademia Liguistica di Bella Arti, Genoa

by 1892 -

Giovanna Musso Piantelli, Italian, (Italy), most likely by descent within the family.
Source: Catalogue of the exhibition "Mostra d'Arte Antica" at Palazzo Bianco, Genoa

after 1892 - by 1984

Musso Piantelli collection (Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy), probably sold to Carlo Montanaro, Aetas Antiqua S. A.

by 1984 - 1985

Carlo Montanaro (Panama and Geneva, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.
Note: On the shipping invoice the basin is "Ex Christa Brenner Bonini, Geneva." No one of that name could be found in any print or online source.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Esposizione Artistico, Archeologico, Industriale aperta nelle Sale dell'Accademia Ligustica (Spring 1868)
  • Museo dell'Accademia Ligustica di Bella Arti (Genoa), 1868
Mostra d'Arte Antica (1892)
  • Palazzo Bianco (Genoa), 1892
Genova Nell'etá Barocca / Genova in the Baroque Age (May 2 to July 26, 1992)
  • Galleria Nazionale di Palazzo Spinola (Genoa), May 2 to July 26, 1992
Kunst in der Republik Genua, 1528-1815 (September 5 to November 8, 1992)
  • Schirn Kunsthalle (Frankfurt), September 5 to November 8, 1992
L'Europe de Rubens (May 22 to September 23, 2013)
  • Musée du Louvre-Lens (Lens cedex), May 22 to September 23, 2013
Bibliography
Bibliography

Staglieno, Marcello, and L. T. Belgrano. Catalogo dell'esposizione artistico, archeologico, industriale aperta nelle sale dell'Accademia Ligustica: la primera del MDCCCLXVIII, exh. cat. (Genova: Co' Tipi del R. I. de' Sordo-Muti, 1868), p. 116, no. 55.

Poggi, Vittorio, L. A. Cervetto, and G. B. Villa. Catalogo degli Oggetti Componenti la Mostra d'Arte Antica aperta nelle sale del Palazzo Bianco, destinato a sede del Nuovo Museo Civico, exh. cat. (Genova: Stabilimento Fratelli Pagano, 1892), p. 84, no. 86.

Poggi, Vittorio, L. A. Cervetto, and G. B. Villa. Catalogo degli Oggetti Componenti la Mostra d'Arte Antica aperta nelle sale del Palazzo Bianco, destinato a sede del Nuovo Museo Civico, exh. cat. (Genova: Stabilimento Fratelli Pagano, 1892), p. 75, no. 86.

Macandrew, Hugh. "A Silver Basin Designed by Strozzi." Burlington Magazine 113, no. 814 (January 1971), pp. 2, 4-11, 13, figs. 2-5.

Lightbown, Ronald W. "A Note on the Silver Basin." Burlington Magazine 113, no. 814 (January 1971), p. 11.

Macandrew, Hugh. "Genoese Silver on Loan to the Ashmolean Museum." Burlington Magazine 114, no. 834 (September 1972), pp. 611-620.

Hernmarck, Carl. The Art of the European Silversmith 1430-1830. 2 vols. (London and New York: Sotheby Parke Bernet, 1977), vol. 1 p. 233, vol. 2 p. 226.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 212.

Boggero, Franco, and Farida Simonetti. Argenti genovesi da parata: tra cinque e seicento (Turin: Umberto Allemandi, 1991), p. 233, no. 7, pls. 20-23, figs. 132, 135-143.

Scott, David A. "Technological, Analytical, and Microstructural Studies of a Renaissance Silver Basin." Archeomaterials 5, no. 1 (Winter 1991), pp. 21-45, ill.

Penny, Nicholas. Catalogue of European Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum: 1540 to the Present Day. Vol. 1, Italian (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), pp. 319, 322.

Gavazza, Ezia, and Giovanna Rotondi Terminiello, eds. Genova nell'Età Barocca, exh. cat. (Genoa: Galleria Nazionale di Palazzo Spinola and Galleria di Palazzo Reale, with Nuova Alfa, 1992), pp. 349-50, no. 223, fig. 223.

Newcome Schleier, Mary, et al. Kunst in der Republik Genua, 1528-1815, exh. cat. (Frankfurt: Schirn Kunsthalle, 1992), pp. 266, 285-86, no. 152, fig. 152.1, pl. 158, entry by Farida Simonetti.

Bremer-David, Charissa, et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), pp. 194-95, no. 331.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 251, ill.

Fusco, Peter. Summary Catalogue of European Sculpture in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 20, ill.

Bremer-David, Charissa, et al. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Decorative Arts (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 46-47, no. 33.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 249, no. 515.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 251, ill.

Griffiths, Antony. “A Funny Sort of Print: A Rubbing from a Genoese Salver.” In L’Estampe au Grand Siècle: études offertes à Maxime Préaud. Peter Fuhring et al., eds. (Paris: École nationale des chartes, with Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2010), pp. 109-18, fig. 2.

Scott, David A. Ancient Metals: Microstructure and Metallurgy. Vol. 1, Copper and Copper Alloys (Los Angeles: Conservation Science Press, 2011), pp. 69-71, fig. 7.23.

Duindam, Jeroen. "L'Europe des cours princières: Entre Renaissance et premier XVIIe siècle." In L'Europe de Rubens, exh. cat. (Lens: Musée du Louvre-Lens with Éditions Hazan, 2013), p. 87, ill.

Ducos, Blaise. L'Europe de Rubens, exh. cat. (Lens: Musée du Louvre-Lens, with Éditions Hazan, 2013), p. 307, no. 42, fig. 69, entry by Jahel Sanzsalazar.

Griffiths, Antony. “Some Ornament Prints and their Link with Craftsmanship.” In The Renaissance Workshop. David Saunders, Marika Spring, and Andrew Meek, eds. (London: Archetype Publications, 2013), pp. 118-19, fig. 5.