BERTOS, Francesco
(active 1693-1733)

An Allegory of Triumph

1700-10
Bronze, height 90 cm
Art Institute, Chicago

This complex allegorical group shows a rearing unicorn supporting a winged female nude, probably representing Victory, who holds out a crown of laurel above the head of a seated male figure wearing a lion's skin (possibly Hercules/Valour) and holding a serpent in his left hand, and a female figure with a cornucopia (or horn of plenty) of jewels seated on an altar or plinth. A group is ranged around the altar: a female figure holding a mirror (probably Prudence), a male warrior with the head of a Turk or Tartar on a spike, another female holding ears of corn and a cornucopia (possibly Abundance) and a putto or child holding a ring, possibly a magnifying glass.

This is one of a number of related groups of allegorical subjects, some signed, in the artist's immediately recognisable and idiosyncratic style. Although he also worked in marble, his compositions were more suited to bronze.