Siena 1552 – 1641
The four Cardinal Virtues
Tempera grassa on oval canvas, cm. 32,5 x 26,5
Cristofano Rustici was an artist active in Siena between the XVI and XVII century, son of Lorenzo Brazzi called il Rustico (Siena 1521-1572). His artistic formation started in the family workshop but he was very influenced by the Flemish artist Bernhard van Rantwijk, that was also living in the tuscan town.
The subject of our paintings is the Cardinal Virtues, here represented with their typical attributes (the column for the Courage, the mirror and the snake for the Prudence, washbasin and pitcher for the Temperance, sword and scale for the Justice). The location is set in a pink and grey sky and it’s possible to see the drawing of a mixtilinear frame that the artist decided to not finish. The figures are lively and cheerful painted with rapid touches of the brush tips and with a technique that wants to imitate the fresco.
They can be dated to the last part of the XVI century thanks to comparisons with the mature production of Rustici as the “Martyrdom of Saint Felicita and Cristofano” in a private collection or “The Multiplication of the loaves and fishes” of the Collection Chigi Saracini in Siena. They are a great mix of the senese figurative tradition together with the expressive freedom of the Flemish art.
Expertise from Professor Marco Ciampolini