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An allegory of agriculture, astronomy and architec
17th Century
Domenico ZAMPIERI detto il Domenichino
An allegory of agriculture, astronomy and architec
[L'Agricoltura, l'astronomia, l'architettura]
Oil on canvas
102 x 154 cm  [HxW]
Galleria Sabauda, Torino

The painting depicts three charming allegorical putti, identifiable by the symbols they display, and is the work of Domenico Zampieri, called Domenichino, the Bolognese painter who worked with the Carraccis and enjoyed considerable success in Rome, where he worked on prestigious decorative projects.

The Sabauda painting is most probably the canvas with “Tre Puttini” commissioned from Domenichino in Rome by Cardinal Maurizio of Savoy. It was paid 50 scudi on 30 July 1625, so it cannot be dated any later (Baudi di Vesme 1963–82, vol. III, 1968, p. 1109). Judging from the fact that another three payments were made to Padovanino, Francesco Gessi and Alessandro Turchi for paintings (now lost) of similar subjects, it must originally have been part of a larger decorative cycle with a complex iconography (Di Macco 1995, pp. 363–64).

It is one of many versions of playing putti which were popular in the 17th century, but in order to understand the deeper meaning of the symbolism which refers to the sciences and the arts, one must consider the refined academic discussions between intellectuals and the Savoy Cardinal, who founded the Accademia dei Desiosi in Rome in 1626 (Spear 1982, pp. 259–60; Di Macco 1988, p. 46; Di Macco 1989, p. 100, no. 103).

Anna Maria Bava

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