28 Nov 2008
Judith signed, c. 1872
Oil on canvas, 196.5 by 139 cm.
Provenance: Collection of an Italian noble family.
Andrei Belloli (1822-1881), a native of Rome, found widespread recognition in Russia and worked closely with the Russian Imperial Court.
On finishing his studies at the St Luce Academy in Rome, Belloli moved to St Petersburg in 1859 where he trained as a classical painter. Initially, his distinctive style brought him popularity as a master of decorative arts. He worked on painting churches and palace plafonds, and included in his commissions were murals in the Royal box at the Mariinskii Theatre.
Belloli was also known for his portraits of Russian high society, his sitters included Countess Apraksina and Prince and Princess Kochubei. As a student in Rome (1850-1855) he was commissioned by Charles-Lucien Bonaparte, the Prince of Canino, to paint a series of watercolours depicting members of his family.
In 1861, Belloli became Academician of portraiture at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St Petersburg. In 1870 he donated one of his greatest and best known works Bathing to the Academy museum. One version of this work was acquired by Grand Prince Nikolai Konstantinovich for his collection. Judith, dated 1872, has a similar composition; its mythical subject matter and darker palette create an even stronger link with the Italian painting tradition, which formed the basis of academic artistry of the Russia of the XIX Century.
Notes on symbols:
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§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
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