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The Chinese Masquerade on the Piazza Colonna in Rome during the Giacomo Carnival 1735

Artist or maker:
Lint, Jacob van (b.1723, d.1790)
previously attributed to Hendrik Frans van Lint (Belgian or Flemish, b.1684, d.1763)
Date:
1752
Place of production:
Rome, Italy
Medium:
oil on canvas
Type of object:
paintings
Accession number:
549

Commentary

A carnival parade along the Corso crosses the Piazza Colonna in Rome in this highly detailed painting by Jacob van Lint. It accords with contemporary descriptions of the 1735 carnival, when French art students dressed in Chinese costumes. It was painted almost two decades later, perhaps as a souvenir of the event.

Jacob van Lint is better known for his small-scale views of Roman street scenes and ruins, popular with tourists visiting Rome on the Grand Tour. He was the son of the Flemish painter, Hendrik van Lint, who had travelled to Rome from his native Antwerp around 1700. Hendrik painted similar works to those of his son, and this painting was once attributed to Hendrik, despite Jacob's signature appearing on the work.

Paintings of events in particular carnivals, the festival season before Lent, had been made in Rome since the early years of the 17th century. They were often made to record a joust or performance paid for by an important cardinal or prince. The fact that this painting was made twenty years after the carnival of 1735 suggests it may have been commissioned as a reminder or souvenir of a particular part of the event that had significance for the patron.

Just to the right of centre, there is the Chinese float of the art students of the French Academy in Rome. A contemporary writer, Valesio, wrote in his diary of the 'beautiful carriage with 16 people dressed in Chinese clothes, with umbrellas and flags used by the Chinese' (see Filippo Clementi; Il Carnevale romano nelle cronache contemporanee; 2 vols; Città di Castello; 1938-1939, vol.2 p. 60). An engraving by Pierre also shows the same event (see Carlo Pietrangeli; I Francesi a Roma: residenti e viaggiatori nella Città eterna dal Rinascimento agli inizi del romanticismo; Rome; Istituto grafico Tiberino; 1961). Van Lint has taken care to reproduce the writing on the column of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus with precision. The figure on the top of the column depicts St Paul.

Phillippa Plock, 2011

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
1002 x 1365
970 x 1333 - sight
Signature & date:
signed and dated, lower centre, lower right on placard: GIAC / VAN LINT / F. 1752
Inscriptions:
M. CINESE / F. IN ROMA / AD. 1735
Inscription
lower right, on placard held behind the Chinese float

SIXTVS·V·
Inscription
upper centre, on top of column

SIXTVS·V·PONT MAX·
COLVMNAM·HANC·
AB·OMNI·IMPIETATE·
··EXPVRGATAM·
S·PAVLO APOSTOLO
AENEA EIVS STATVA
INAVRATA IN SUMMO
VERTICE POSITA IV IV
A·M·D·LXXXIX PON·TV
Inscription
centre centre, on base of column

R 328
Inscription
verso, on stretcher, black paint

Boulogne
Inscription
verso, on stretcher, chalk
Translation of inscription:
Chinese Masquerade, Made in Rome, A. D. 1735
Language:
Italian
Latin

History

Provenance:
Acquired by Alice de Rothschild (b.1847, d.1922) for her villa in Grasse, France; inheritedc by her cousin Baron Edmond de Rothschild (b.1845, d.1934); by descent to his son James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); looted by the Nazis from Paris and taken to Germany; recovered from Germany and returned to James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957) in 1948; given to Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) by the Treasury Solicitor in lieu of taxes on the Estate of Mr James de Rothschild in 1963.
Collection:
Waddesdon (National Trust)
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Waddesdon Manor, 1963

Bibliography

Bibliography

Ellis Waterhouse, Anthony Blunt; Paintings: The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor; Fribourg; Office du Livre, The National Trust; 1967; p. 192, cat. no. 83, ill.
Andrea Busiri Vici; Peter, Hendrik e Giacomo van Lint; Rome; Uggo Bozzi - Roma; 1987; p. 291, no. 341

Indexed terms