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. These four groups (Walters 54.659, 54.657, 54.660, and 54.658) are allegories (symbolic representations) of the four continents, of which the world was then thought to consist. All have their names engraved. In the allegory of Africa, the continent is represented by graceful, ightly-dressed inhabitants who gather grain, in reference to the great importance of parts of north Africa as a source of grain for Europe from the time of the Roman Empire into early modern times. The lion and a snake were traditional attributes of the savage aspects of africa that both terrified and thrilled Europeans. See further 54.657.
|7/15/1974||Treatment||cleaned; 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
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