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Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini, An Allegory of the Marriage of the Elector Palatine

Key facts
Full title An Allegory of the Marriage of the Elector Palatine
Artist Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini
Artist dates 1675 - 1741
Date made 1713-14
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 43.2 × 63.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1962
Inventory number NG6328
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
An Allegory of the Marriage of the Elector Palatine
Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini

This is a modello (a preparatory sketch of an entire composition) for a large picture commissioned to celebrate the marriage of Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine, and Anna Maria Luisa de‘ Medici, daughter of Cosimo III de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, which had taken place in 1691.

The groom, dressed in Roman costume with a plumed helmet, is surrounded by mythological figures. The goddess Juno blesses the marriage flame, tended by Hymen, god of marriage. The bride approaches from the left, her head lowered to suggest modesty and subservience, both seen as wifely virtues.

In 1713–14 Pellegrini worked on a series of 14 pictures that celebrated Johann’s life and reign, which were intended for Bensberg Palace, near Düsseldorf. This series (now in the Schleissheim Palace, near Munich) is generally considered his most important work. Pellegrini travelled extensively throughout his career and in doing so established himself as one of the most sought-after decorative painters in Europe during the early eighteenth century.

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