Woman Holding the Papal Tiara, 1632–39
Purchased as the gift of the Fellows with the special assistance of Anne and Carl Stern
Pietro da Cortona is best known for his masterpiece of baroque illusionism, the ceiling of the Great Hall of the Palazzo Barberini, Rome, frescoed between 1632 and 1639. Depicting an Allegory of Divine Providence, the ceiling glorifies the Barberini family, including Pope Urban VIII. This study is preparatory for the female figure personifying Rome. An expert exploration of the figure’s foreshortened form, lit from above, it is one of the most beautiful of the studies related to the commission.