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21 February 2019

Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) Portrait of the Gozzadini Family, 1584

This is the Gozzadini family in 1584 (the painting is still in Bologna). The dog seems to be the only one having any fun, but perhaps things were more relaxed than they look. The painting has been interpreted at length as a visual illustration of the long and complex dramas that the Gozzadini family  experienced in the latter half of the sixteenth century. The art historian Caroline Murphy believes that Laudomia Gozzadini (the patron in the red dress) confided her marital and financial problems to the artist who then depicted them, ever so subtly, in the painting.’ (There is more about the Gozzadini family here.)

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