Ompare 2 paintings from The Getty Museum

First Painting
An Allegory of Divine Wisdom and the Fine Arts

Paolo de Matteis
Italian, about 1680s
Oil on canvas
141 1/2 x 99 5/8 in.
69.PA.20

At the very top of the composition, a personification of Science extends her arm to Painting, while Architecture sits at her feet with a compass and a rolled-up architectural drawing. Virtue holds a laurel wreath over the head of the central figure, who displays a canvas of Time revealing Truth.

Known for his facility, Paola de Matteis supposedly completed this elaborate canvas, his earliest known painting, in only five days, soon after his return from Rome. The smooth, clear contours and idealized beauty of Virtue reflect the classicizing lessons he learned there, while the foreshortened figure of Science reveals his roots in the dramatic Neapolitan Baroque.

Second Painting

Pictura (An Allegory of Painting)

Frans van Mieris the Elder
Dutch, 1661
Oil on copper
[arched top]: 5 x 3 1/2 in.
82.PC.136

Images depicting the allegory of art were traditionally used to classify painting as one of the liberal arts. A woman, usually idealized, personifies Pictura (Painting) and holds objects vital to artistic creation. In her left hand she holds a palette, brushes, and a small plaster sculpture that served as a model for larger works. Around her neck she wears a mask on a chain, which may refer to arts ability to deceive through the art of illusion.

Frans van Mieris the Elder adopted the antique model of Pictura but updated it for his time. The model is not classically beautiful or idealized; she is an average young woman observed from everyday Dutch life.

Van Mieris the Elder was Gerrit Dous most promising student in the school of fijnschilders (fine painters) in Leiden in the 1600s. The highly finished quality of this painting is an excellent example of this style of painting