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Title Grotesque Parody of an Accouchement
Alternative Title Maternity: Grotesque of Woman Having a Litter of Children
Collection Wellcome Library
Artist Unknown
Previously attributed to Dutch School
Previously attributed to Pietro della Vecchia (Italian painter, 1603-1678)
Date Earliest possibly 1640
Date Latest possibly 1750
Description Four grotesque dwarfish figures, a hunchbacked man and an old midwife are shown helping a woman give birth to eggs rather than babies. On the right, a woman boils a donkey in a jar of water. In the foreground, babies break out of the eggs. Pictures of crowds of tiny dwarfs are often attributed to Faustino Bocchi. The present picture, however, is in a very different style, showing the dwarfs much larger by comparison with the size of the painting than is usual in paintings by Bocchi. An alternative attribution to Pietro della Vecchia (Pietro Muttoni) has been suggested.
Current Accession Number 44686i
Former Accession Number CC 5925; P 2512/1940
Subject figure; allegory; animal (donkey)
Measurements 64.4 x 76.6 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Henry Solomon Wellcome 1936.
Provenance Sale, Sotheby's, London, 27 January 1931, lot 538A, 5 0s 0d as Grotesque Medical Subject; in the collection of Henry Solomon Wellcome, 8 March 1932.
Notes Pictures of crowds of grotesque dwarfish characters are often attributed to Faustino Bocchi. The present picture, however, is in a very different style, showing the dwarfs much larger by comparison with the size of the painting than is usual in paintings firmly attributed to Bocchi. An alternative attribution to Pietro della Vecchia (Pietro Muttoni) has been suggested. This may be a parody of Leonardo da Vinci's painting of Leda and the Swan. The accessions register records the work as 'Possibly Dutch School'.
Rights Owner (c) The Wellcome Trust
Author Dr Madeleine Korn

 

 

 

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