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Cortona image

Pietro da Cortona (Pietro Berrettini; 1596–1669)
Woman Holding the Papal Tiara, 1632–39
Black and red chalk
8 11/16 x 10 7/8 inches (220 x 277 mm)
Purchased as the gift of the Fellows with the special assistance of Anne and Carl Stern; 1965.16
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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.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.