CRETI, Donato
(b. 1671, Cremona, d. 1749, Bologna)


Oil on canvas, 72 x 59 cm
Private collection

This relatively early work by Creti depicts the figure of a Sibyl, an archetype that has deep roots in Bolognese art, perhaps most famously in the works of Reni, Guercino and Domenichino. As in the versions of these older masters, Creti has painted his Sibyl wearing a turban (practically an iconographic shorthand for an exotic, oracular figure), and holding up a book. He has chosen to paint her in profile, one of his favourite compositional devices, and one which allowed him to create idealized portraits of women of extreme elegance and originality.

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