The Abduction of Proserpine

Object Details


The Abduction of Proserpine


Alessandro Allori (Italian, 1535 - 1607)






Oil on panel


228.6 x 348 cm (90 x 137 in.)

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Pluto, god of the Underworld, seizes Proserpine, daughter of the corn-goddess Ceres, ready to carry her down to his kingdom on a chariot drawn by black horses. Because Pluto allowed Proserpine to return to earth each spring for four months, the story recounted in Ovid's Metamorphosessymbolized seasonal death and rebirth.

Yet, even this dire subject takes place in an enchanted setting. Characteristically, Alessandro Allori added playful touches: slender, graceful nymphs, possibly Proserpine's former companions, pick flowers and frolic while being observed by satyrs. The abrupt truncation of Pluto's chariot and horses at the bottom of the panel and the bright, saturated colors display frequent characteristics of Florentine Mannerism. Allori's complicated, twisted poses and his cool, smooth style reflect the influence of his adopted father and master Bronzino.

Allori painted this panel, along with many others, as decoration for the Villa Salviati, a private home near Florence.

1570 -

Alamanno Salviati, 1510 - 1571 (Villa Salviati, Tuscany, Italy), commissioned from the artist, 1570; by inheritance within the Salviati family.

Salviati Family

late 16th century -

Francesco Salviati, Italian, 1510 - 1563 (Villa Salviati, Tuscany, Italy), by inheritance within the Salviati family.

- 1704

Salviati Family (Villa Salviati, Tuscany, Italy), possibly by inheritance to Paulo Borghese.

1704 -

Prince Paolo Borghese, 1845 - 1920 (Rome; Villa Salviati, Tuscany, Italy)

19th century -

Vansittart (Villa Salviati, Tuscany, Italy)

19th century -

Mario de Candia (Villa Salviati, Tuscany, Italy)

19th century -

Turri Family (Villa Salviati, Tuscany, Italy)

- possibly still in 1908

Gagliardi (Florence, Italy) [possibly unsold, Gagliardi sale, Jandolo & Tavazzi, Roma, April 27, 1908, lot 299.]

about 1910 - before 1914

Private Collection (Florence, Italy), sold to Edward Hamlin Everett, before 1914.

before 1914 -

Edward Hamlin Everett, 1851 - 1929 (Washington, DC; Bennington, Vermont), by inheritance to his wife, Mrs. Edward Hamlin Everett.

- about 1953

Mrs. Edward Hamlin Everett (Bennington, Vermont), donated to the Bennington Museum, about 1953.

about 1953 - 1973

Bennington Museum (Bennington, Vermont), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1973.