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Allegorical Portrait of a Lady (after Caspar Netscher)

Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion

Allegorical Portrait of a Lady (after Caspar Netscher)

Artist: Pieter Cornelisz van Slingeland, attributed (Dutch, 1640–1691)
Culture: Dutch
Date: 17th century
Medium: Oil on panel
Dimensions:
20 1/8 x 15 1/8 inches (51.1 x 38.4 cm)
Frame: 30 1/8 x 25 3/4 x 2 1/2 inches (76.5 x 65.4 x 6.4 cm)
Classification: Painting
Credit Line: Gift in honor of Marilyn M. Segal by her children
Label Text:This painting—a near replica of Caspar Netscher’s portrait of Madame de Montespan (a mistress of King Louis XIV of France)—shows a richly adorned sitter with silk garments and pearls indicating her wealth and status. In the woman’s right hand are two roses, symbolizing love, while in her left hand is a white lily, a symbol of beauty and purity. Her foot rests on another plant, perhaps an anemone, representing death. The table on which the sitter’s arm rests holds two books and a celestial globe, suggesting knowledge and wisdom. Such symbolic elements were integrated into the portraits of men and women at the courts of France and Flanders during this period and were used to illustrate the character of the sitter. This portrait, therefore, not only records the lady’s physical appearance, but also indicates that she was a woman admired for her intellect and beauty.
Provenance: Purchased October 13, 1989 through (Sotheby's New York, lot 64) by Richard D. Segal; gift 1998 to Duke University Museum of Art, now Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Object number: 1998.22.10