Allegorical Figure of Spring
Date ca. 1555
Artist:Jacopo Robusti (Tintoretto), Italian, 1519-1594
Dimensions 41 1/2 x 76 3/4 in. (105.4 x 194.9 cm) Overall, Frame: 50 1/2 x 85 x 5 1/4 in. (128.3 x 215.9 x 13.3 cm)
Medium Oil on canvas
Credit Line Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.
Description This is an oil on canvas painting. A full-bodied woman, representing Spring, lies on her back, partially nude. A spray of flowers growing from her side illustrates her regenerating powers for new life.
Exhibition History"Paintings from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," Portland Art Museum, Oregon; Seattle Art Museum; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Minneapolis Art Institute; St. Louis City Art Museum; William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art, Kansas City; Detroit Institute of Arts; and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, March 2, 1956 - April 14, 1957. (Exhib. cat. no. 66).
"1550-1650: A Century of Masters from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," Fort Worth Art Center, Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, and University of Texas, Austin, Sept. 7, 1962 - March 31, 1963. (Exhib. cat. no. 28).
"Rockford College Festival of Arts," Rockford, Illnois, 1963. (Exhib. cat. no. 7).
"Venetian Paintings of the Sixteenth Century," Finch College Museum of Art, Oct. 30 - Dec. 15, 1963. (Exhib. cat. no. 24).
"Italian Renaissance and Baroque Paintings from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences, Dec. 2, 1967 - May 15, 1968. (Exhib. cat. no. 11).
"Treasures from the Chrysler Museum at Norfolk," Nashville, Tennessee, June 12 - Sept. 5, 1977. (Exhib. cat. no. 1).
"Tintoretto and 'The Dreams of Men'," The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI, Nov. 20 - Dec. 31, 1994.
Published ReferencesBertina S. Manning. _Chrysler Art Museum of Provincetown Inaugural Exhibition_. Provincetown, Massachusetts: Chrysler Art Museum of Provincetown. 07/1958: No. 66.
Exhibition catalogue. _1550-1650, A Century of Masters from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr._. Fort Worth: Fort Worth Art Center. 1962: pp. 30, 45.
Bertina Suida Manning. "Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto in the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.," _Arte Veneta_. XVI. 1962: pp. 49-59.
Robert L. Manning. _Italian Renaissance and Baroque Paintings from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr._. Norfolk: Norfolk Museum of Arts and Science. 1967: no. 11.
Eric Zafran. "From the Renaissance to the Grand Tour," _Apollo_. Volume 107, no. 194. 04/1978:pp. 4-15, ill.
F. Gandolfo. _Il 'Dolce Tempo' -- Mistica, Ermetismo e Sogno nel Cinquecento_. Rome. 1978:pp. 237-238.
F.R. Shapley. _Catalogue of the Italian Paintings_. Vol. I. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art. 1979:pp. 470-471.
Rodolfo Pallucchini and Paola Rossi. _Tintoretto: Le Opere Sacre e Profane_. Milan, 1982, I, p. 176, no. 209, II, p. 426.
Jefferson C. Harrison. "Italian Art - Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century," _The Chrysler Museum Gallery Guide_. Norfolk, VA: Chrysler Museum. 1987: p. 5, no. 10.
Jefferson C. Harrison. _The Chrysler Museum Handbook of the European and American Collections: Selected Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings_. The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA, 1991, p. 13, #12.
Miguel Falomir, _Tintoretto_, exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain, 2007, pp. 204 & 206. (January 30 - May 13, 2007)
Provenance Painted ca. 1555 for the Palazzo Barbo, San Pantaleone, Venice (original location); Private collection, Southern France, 1957; Newhouse Galleries, 1958; Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.; Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. to the Chrysler Museum, 1971.
Current Location Chrysler Museum of Art, Gallery 204
Catalog Entry Jacopo Robusti, called Tintoretto Italian, 1518-1594 Allegorical Figure of Spring, ca. 1555 Oil on canvas, 41-5/8" x 76" (105.7 x 193 cm) Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., 71.1301 Reference: Rodolfo Pallucchini and Paola Rossi. _Tintoretto: Le Opere Sacre e Profane_. Milan, 1982, I, p. 176, no. 209, II, p. 426. Together with Veronese (no. 13) and the aging Titian, Tintoretto presided over the Venetian school of painting during the second half of the sixteenth century. His style was formed by Michelangelo, the Venetian Mannerists and Titian, to whom he may have been apprenticed. From them he forged an art of violent energy and monumental sweep, a passionate late Mannerist style marked by an astonishing technical freedom. Tintoretto and his many assistants worked almost continuously on large-scale commissions for Venetian churches, palaces, charitable confraternities and government buildings, covering acres of wall and ceiling with a feverish velocity that dumbfounded his rivals. As had the classical writers and artists who influenced them so profoundly, sixteenth-century European painters frequently used the cycle of the seasons as a metaphor for the eternal passage of time. Their paintings of the seasons were often produced in sets of four, with each picture featuring a male or female figure who personified the particular season with the help of appropriate seasonal attributes. Following traditional practice, Tintoretto produced his _Allegorical Figure of Spring_ around 1555 as part of a series of four paintings of the seasons. Here, a lively and robust Flora, goddess of flowers and spring, shakes off the torpor of winter. The spray of flowers that seems to issue from her womb shows that she is fertile with the promise of new life. She is a splendid, full-bodied symbol of the generative power of the reawakening earth. Tintoretto's companion pictures of _Summer_ and _Winter_ survive: the former is found in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the latter in a private collection in Bergamo. The concluding painting of _Autumn_ has yet to be recovered. The Chrysler Museum and National Gallery paintings were originally fitted with octagonal frames that covered their corners. The seventeenth-century biographer of Venetian artists, Carlo Ridolfi, noted in his _Le Maraviglie dell'Arte_ (1648) that Tintoretto produced a set of Seasons pictures as part of his decoration of a room in the Barbo Palace in Venice: In the Palazzo Barbo at San Pantaleone one sees in the panelling of one room a "Capriccio of Dreams" with some gods in heaven and various symbols of things that come into the minds of men while they are dreaming; in the surrounding area the "Four Seasons" are personified. Scholars have suggested that the "Capriccio of Dreams" in the Barbo Palace was a ceiling painting and that it can be identified with a large, octagonal canvas by Tintoretto in the Detroit Institute of the Arts, the so-called _Dreams of Man_. It has also been proposed that the _Allegorical Figure of Spring_ and its three companion paintings are the "Four Seasons" that originally flanked the "Capriccio of Dreams" in the Barbo Palace, composing, perhaps, a frieze of paintings along the tops of the walls. Jefferson C. Harrison. _The Chrysler Museum Handbook of the European and American Collections: Selected Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings_. The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA, 1991, p. 13, #12.
Object Label Jacopo Robusti, called Tintoretto Italian, 1518–1594 Allegorical Figure of Spring, ca. 1555 Oil on canvas With a spray of flowers that seems to grow from her womb, this voluptuous young woman personifies spring, the season of birth and nature’s reawakening. Along with three companion paintings representing the other seasons, the painting once adorned the ceiling of the Palazzo Barbo in Venice. When the writer Carlo Ridolfi saw the paintings in 1648, he described them as a “capriccio of dreams”—a musical ensemble filled with “things that come into the minds of men while they are dreaming.” Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. 71.1301
Object Number 71.1301