The Berger Collection


Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807)
Papirius Praetextatus Entreated by His Mother to Disclose the Secrets of the Deliberations of the Roman Senate
Oil on canvas
24 1/16 in. (62.75 cm) diameter

Angelica Kauffman was a leading Neoclassical painter and one of only two female founding members of London’s Royal Academy of Arts. Her subject here is an obscure ancient Roman narrative in which a young boy, Papirius, having been granted special entry to the senate, resists his mother’s entreaties to reveal details of the council’s secret proceedings. As a reward for his loyalty to the senate, he is allowed unfettered access to their meetings. Such moralizing messages were a popular aspect of Neoclassical pictures. The subject’s erudition would have appealed to Kauffman’s patrons, as would the picture’s classical setting and the figures’ attire and pose.


Provenance

Sir Cosimo Antrobus, Bt.; by descent; Hall & Knight, London

Bibliography

Literature: Manners and Williamson, Angelica Kauffmann, RA, 1924, p. 177; W. W. Roworth, Angelina Kauffmann: A Continental Artist in Georgian England, 1992, p. 182

Exhibited: New Gallery, London, 1900, no. 170

Engraved: Burke, published February 1, 1780, by W. W. Ryland


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