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Bernardo Strozzi: 'A Personification of Fame'

The painting is a relatively late work, probably from the early years of Strozzi's Venetian period, about 1635-6. It is a far from idealised study of a girl in a darkened setting, equipped with the wings that Fame traditionally possesses. The light falls brightly from the left, highlighting the inquiring face of the sitter and details of her costume, which shows to advantage the distinctive handling of the painter.

In representations of Fame the figure usually holds a single trumpet, or two of different lengths, symbolising good and ill fame. The significance of the two instruments represented in Strozzi's painting, a golden trumpet and a wooden shawm, is unclear.


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