Allegory of Fortune

Object Details

Title:

Allegory of Fortune

Artist/Maker(s):

Salvator Rosa (Italian, 1615 - 1673)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1658 - 1659

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

200.7 x 133 cm (79 x 52 3/8 in.)

See more

See less

A personification of Fortune bestows symbols of wealth, status, and power on dumb animals who neither need nor deserve them. Fortune is usually represented with a blindfold, but Salvator Rosa showed her fully aware of her favors. Similarly, the cornucopia is usually shown facing upward; by depicting it overturned, Rosa expressed reckless extravagance.

The beasts, portrayed with stark realism, trample the attributes of art and learning, including books and a palette. Draped in the cardinal red of the Catholic Church, an ass shields an owl, the symbol for wisdom, from the light. Bitter over his exclusion from papal patronage, Rosa included personal references: a book bearing his monogram and a pig stepping on a rose, which alludes to his name.

As a satire of Pope Alexander VII's nepotistic artistic patronage, this painting nearly sent Rosa to prison. After showing it privately in his studio, he flagrantly disregarded all advice and exhibited it publicly in the Pantheon in 1659. Allegory of Fortunearoused such a furor that only intervention by the pope's brother saved him.

Provenance
about 1659 - about 1683

Carlo de Rossi, died 1683 (Rome, Italy), by inheritance to Antonio Vallori, about 1683.

about 1683 - 1726/1727

Antonio Vallori (Rome, Italy), possibly sold to Henry Scudamore, 1726/1727.

1726/1727 - 1746

Henry Scudamore, third duke of Beaufort, 1707 - 1746 (Badminton Park, Gloucester, England), by inheritance to Charles Noel Somerset, 1746.

1746 - 1756

Charles Noel Somerset, fourth duke of Beaufort, British, 1709 - 1756 (Badminton Park, Gloucester, England), by inheritance to Henry Somerset, 1756.

1756 - 1803

Henry Somerset, fifth duke of Beaufort, British, 1754 - 1803 (Badminton Park, Gloucester, England), by inheritance to Henry Charles Somerset, 1803.

1803 - 1835

Henry Charles Somerset, sixth duke of Beaufort, British, 1766 - 1835 (Badminton Park, Gloucester, England), by inheritance to Henry Somerset, 1835.

1835 - 1853

Henry Somerset, seventh duke of Beaufort, British, 1792 - 1853 (Badminton Park, Gloucester, England), by inheritance to Henry Charles Fitzroy Somerset, 1853.

1853 - 1899

Henry Charles Fitzroy Somerset, eighth duke of Beaufort, British, 1824 - 1899 (Badminton Park, Gloucester, England), by inheritance to Henry Adelbert Wellington Fitzroy Somerset, 1899.

1899 - 1924

Henry Adelbert Wellington Fitzroy Somerset, ninth duke of Beaufort, British, 1847 - 1924 (Badminton Park, Gloucester, England), by inheritance to Henry Hugh Arthur Fitzroy Somerset, 1924.

1924 - about 1957

Henry Hugh Arthur Fitzroy Somerset, tenth duke of Beaufort, British, 1900 - 1984 (Badminton Park, Gloucester, England), sold to Marlborough Galleries, about 1957.

about 1957 - 1971

Marlborough Gallery (London, England), sold to J. Paul Getty, 1971.

1971 - 1976

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976 (Malibu, California; Sutton Place, Surrey, England), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1976 - 1978

Estate of J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976, distributed to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978.

Exhibitions
San Giovanni Decollato (August 29,1659)
  • San Giovanni Decollato, (Rome), 1659
Bristol Institution 1827 (May 21, 1827) (Cat. 1; as "An Allegorical Subject (Known as the Fortune of Salvator Rosa)")
  • Bristol Institution, (Bristol), 1827
British Institution 1859 (1859) (Cat. 17)
  • British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom, (London), 1859
The J. Paul Getty Collection (June 29 to September 3, 1972) (Cat. 46)
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, (Minneapolis), June 29 to September 3, 1972
Salvator Rosa in America (April 20 to June 5, 1979) (Cat. 6)
  • Wellesley College Museum, (Wellesley), April 20 to June 5, 1979
Salvator Rosa (1615-1673): Bandits, Wilderness and Magic (September 15, 2010 to March 27, 2011) (Cat. 37)
  • Dulwich Picture Gallery, (London), September 15 to November 28, 2010
  • Kimbell Art Museum, (Fort Worth), December 12, 2010 to March 27, 2011
Bibliography

The J. Paul Getty Collection, exh. cat. (Minneapolis: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1972), unpaginated, no. 46, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 5th ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980), p. 74.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 109, ill.