Countess Virginia Oldoini Verasis di Castiglione (1835–1899)
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Image: 10.5 x 8.3 cm (4 1/8 x 3 1/4 in.)
Mount: 12.9 x 9.4 cm (5 1/16 x 3 11/16 in.)
Mat: 35.6 x 27.9 cm (14 x 11 in.)
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Not on view
Inscription: Blindstamp on mount, recto BC: "[partially visible imperial coat of arms]"
Maurice Levert; (Pescheteau-Badin, Godeau & Leroy, Paris, January 28, 1995, lot 90); Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York
Musée d'Orsay. "La Divine Comtesse: Photographs of the Countess Castiglione," October 11, 1999–January 23, 2000.
Palazzo Cavour, Turin. "Countess of Castiglione," March 30, 2000–July 2, 2000.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "La Divine Comtesse: Photographs of the Countess Castiglione," September 18, 2000–December 31, 2000.
Apraxine, Pierre, and Xavier Demange. La Divine Comtesse: Photographs of the Countess de Castiglione. New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. no. 19, p. 171, ill. p. 111 (this print).
The Countess is seen standing in profile, in one of the ten known poses from the Queen of Etruria series. There is another print of this picture in the Montesquiou album (1975.548.93). [PA; "La Divine Comtesse", p. 171]
There are ten known poses of the Countess as the Queen of Etruria, a costume she wore to a ball at the Château des Tuileries, Paris, on the evening of February 9, 1863. This queen is an imaginary character, but one not without grandiloquent reference to the Countess's disputed role in aligning Napoleon III with Vittorio Emmanuele II's efforts to reinunify Italy in the late 1850s. (Napoleon I had made Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain the queen of his "ephemeral" Etruria; there is also reference to the founding myth of the Roman Empire and the Etruscans). Numerous examples of the other poses are also extant. [Alteveer/IFA]