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Allegory of Prudence
Luca Giordano

Prudence, one of the four Cardinal Virtues, carries an arrow with a serpent entwined around it. The deer she rides is a symbol of prudence because it has to move cautiously on account of the weight of its antlers. The Oriental philosophers on the left represent Order and Reason. The two-faced figure with claws is Fraud, and Ignorance carries a donkey's head. In the sky are Abundance, Grace and Well-being.

This painting is one of a group of 10 modelli, or elaborated oil studies, made in preparation for the fresco projects that Giordano created for the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence. This painting is connected with the ceiling of the Galleria.

Key facts
Artist Luca Giordano
Artist dates 1634 - 1705
Full title Allegory of Prudence
Group Modelli for the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence
Date made early 1680s
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 99.7 x 95.2 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by the Trustees of Sir Denis Mahon's Charitable Trust through the Art Fund, 2013
Inventory number NG6634
Location in Gallery Room 40
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Modelli for the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

This group of 10 modelli, or elaborated oil studies, was made in preparation for the fresco projects that Giordano undertook in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence between 1682 and 1685.

Nine are associated with the ceiling of the Galleria and one, the 'Allegory of Divine Wisdom', is for the ceiling of the adjacent Library.

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