Origin: Italian Period: Late Seventeenth Century Provenance: From the Collection of La Rosa di Montevecchia: Lake Como, Italy Date: c.1680-1700 Canvas Height: 34.25 inches Canvas Width: 26.5 inches The Whole: 32.25 inches x 40 inches
The large work painted in oils on canvas, depicting a serene young child posed sat on a scarlet velvet tasselled cushion beside a profusely carved and gilded table on a terraced balustrade, the young child with a garland or swag of flowers draped over his semi-nude body survives from late seventeenth century Italy and is presented in a good antique green-black painted frame with gilt slip.
The rich and intense background coupled with the bold lines and balancing colours of the picture are typical of a painter who closely followed Von Tamm’s work in and around the same period circa 1690. The fleshy legs and arms of the cherubic young child and the opulent surroundings indicate the sitter is a child from a wealthy family, if we are to assume this is a portrait.
The condition of the picture is without any damage or repair, and the canvas remains in an uncleaned state meaning much of the background is a little darker than it once was. We have not yet put the picture under any UV light. The reverse of the canvas is clean and tidy with no markings or stamps seemingly present. The frame is in good structural order and is probably nineteenth century and the very dark green paintwork to it has chipping and wear to its edges, which gives it decorative appeal.
Franz Werner von Tamm was born on 6 March 1658 in Hamburg and was a German Baroque painter who travelled to and worked in Italy. He became a painter of religious subjects, hunting scenes, portraits, landscapes with figures, still life's including flowers/fruit/game, decorative schemes and murals. Von Tamm studied under Diedrich von Sosten and Hans Pfeiffer. He went to Rome in 1685 to continue his studies and stayed for ten years forming his style after the work of Nuzzi who had died in 1673. While there he married the daughter of an Augsburg goldsmith and is known to have come in contact with Carlo Maratti and Vanvitelli. It is within this period where the painter of this particular work would have come into contact with Von Tamm’s art. According to the RKD his nickname was "Dapper" or "Aprêt", and he was influenced by David de Coninck and became the teacher of Pietro Navarra
In about 1700 Tamm was called to Vienna to enter the service of Leopold I. He was also appointed court painter and worked for the Prince of Liechtenstein. He began by painting history pictures and portraits, then he specialised in still life's, preferring to paint game, flowers and fruit against a background landscape. He painted garlands of flowers in Carlo Maratti's works, notably in an over door work in the Louvre, in Paris. He also painted a picture of the Bleeding of St Paul for the church of St Paul in Passau. His works typically feature strong lines and harmonising colours and his later style is considered to be much better, as it does not exhibit certain heaviness present in his early works.
This painting was part of the magnificent collection from La Rosa di Montevecchia in Lake Como, Italy broken up in the summer of 2013. The collector was the former editor of Vogue Italy and Vogue France, also editing Harper's Bazaar in Italy and had an affinity for wildlife and flowers, as we see in this picture. Located between the bustling city of Milan and the rolling countryside around Lake Como, the majestic 18th Century villa that housed this work is set within a spectacular garden, brimming with over 300 species of rare, near-extinct roses and was once owned by an English noblewoman who was heavily involved in the 'Risorgimento', the unification struggle of the 1860s.
A hugely atmospheric and striking work of innocence, size and presence and with a rich and deliciously dark decadence.