Description Conca represents the different character of the four seasons through one of the most favored artistic motifs of the 18th century, the "putto" (embodying the spirit of a little child). The playful, tender, and fleshy figures convey a light mood. As allegorical personifications here, they act out seasons through typical activities. Seated at the fire of a brazier, Winter wraps himself up against the cold; Spring holds a wreath of flowers (Walters 37.1724); Summer shades his head with a leaf against the heat while cooling his foot in a stream (Walters 37.1744); and Autumn, like a little Bacchus (the ancient god of wine), holds grapes, representing the harvest (Walters 37.1792). The charming series was surely intended to decorate a small room, perhaps a dressing room. For more information on this series, please see Federico Zeri's 1976 catalogue Italian Paintings in the Walters Art Gallery, no. 433, pp. 545-546.
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [1881 catalogue: no. 1149; 1897 catalogue: no. 290, as Carlo Maratta]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, 1902 (where catalogued as Carolo Maratta: catalogue 1881, nos. 149-152; catalogue 1897, nos. 290-293)
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