Description Very little is known about Francesco Bertos, a highly original artist who created a considerable number of complicated pyramidal groups in a very distinctive, ingenious style that mirrors the lightness and airiness of contemporary rococo painting in France. Each of the pieces has a primary view or "front" while offering interconnected details that unfold as one moves around the piece. These four groups (Walters 54.657, 54.658, 54.659, and 54.660) are symbolic representations (allegories) of the four continents, of which the world was then thought to consist. All have their names engraved. In the allegory of America, the fierce and primitive nature of the New World is represented by the semi-nude female Native American warrior wearing feathers, who has shot an opponent with an arrow. She supports a man who stands on an alligator that looks strangely like a lizard. The gruesome detail of the little boy lifting a decapitated head on a spear refers to European assumptions about the practice of cannibalism in America.
|7/15/1974||Treatment||cleaned; examined for condition|
|2/07/1977||Examination||examined for condition|
Provenance Spiradon, Paris; Jacques Seligmann and Co., Inc., New York, Sale, February 17, 1917; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1917, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1917
Download Image Add to Collection Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Creative Commons License