Virtue Crowned by Honor

Carlo Maratti Italian

Not on view

During the pontificate of Clement X Altieri (1670–1676), his family palace on the Piazza del Gesù in Rome was enlarged and redecorated. Carlo Maratti was commissioned to paint the main room between 1674 and 1677, but only the fresco that fills the long, narrow central section of the vault was executed. The undecorated portions of the vault were to contain allegorical figures representing Religion, Faith, Divine Wisdom, and Evangelical Truth. A document for this never-completed project, this sheet, boldly executed in red chalk, is a preparatory study for one of these allegorical figures, namely Virtue crowned by Honor.

The same pair is represented in a slightly different arrangement in Maratti's study for the Allegory of the Divine Wisdom also in the Museum's collection (inv. 66.137). Here, Virtue no longer wears the animal pelt on her head but carries it over her extended left arm, and Honor lacks the cornucopia seen in the pen-and-ink sketch. As in all the other drawings for the unexecuted personifications and ecclesiastical Virtues on view here, Maratti took care to delineate the architectural elements that provided the pictorial field, in this case the spandrel springing from an engaged capital.

For other preparatory studies by Carlo Maratti for the decoration of the Great Hall of Palazzo Altieri in the Metropolitan Museum of Art see inv. nos. 61.169 (Virtue crowned by Honor, first sketch), 66.53.3 (Allegory of Peace), 66.137 (Allegory of Divine Wisdom or Divina Sapienza), 2008.334.1 (Study of a Putto), and 65.206 (Plan for a Ceiling and Nude Figures).

Virtue Crowned by Honor, Carlo Maratti (Italian, Camerano 1625–1713 Rome), Red chalk

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