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 symbolic representations (qallegories) of the four continents, of which the world was then thought to consist. All have their names engraved. In the allegory of Asia, an older man carries a beautiful young woman and figures in dance-like movements surround them. They hold pieces of coral, plants, and spices. This limited view of a vast continent, essentially the main products imported from there, contrasts markedly with the complexity of the representations of the other continents. See further 54.657.
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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