This is a fabulous and original late 17th century portrait miniature on copper, mounted within an elaborate baroque ormulu frame. The sitter has been identified as the incredible Hortense Mancini (The Runaway Duchess), depicted here in the guise of Diana (holding a bow and arrow). However, in my opinion she is more likely representing Venus (as taking away the bow and arrow of her son Cupid) for the lack of any crescent or lunar symbols of Diana. This depiction was likely painted between the years 1668 - 1675 whilst living at Chambéry (in Haute-Savoie) under the protection of King Louis XIV and of the Duke of Savoy. During this period Hortense established her home as a meeting place for authors, philosophers, and artists, so ample oportunity to discuss classical art and sit for portraits of this quality. Interestingly Hortense also uses this pose in a painting of her and her sisters titled "Three Nieces of Cardinal Mazarin" c. 1660's where she is also holding the bow.
This is a superb portrait in excellent condition
OBJECT: Portrait Miniature
DATE: c. 1668 - 1675 A.D
SIZE: 126mm x 103mm (framed) or 75mm x 62mm (unframed)
WEIGHT: 130 grams (total)
PROVENANCE: Ex. European Private Collection, Paris.
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