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Gallery Text

After his elevation to the rank of duke and peer, Cardinal Richelieu (1585–1642), first minister of France, designed and built the elaborate chateau and surrounding town that bore his name. This painting was commissioned for the mantel of the study in the king’s suite. Ancient Roman emperors like Titus, known for his largesse, provided a model for European monarchs, and this canvas allusively represents the liberality of Louis XIII, who appears in the guise of Titus dispensing gifts. The man in the red toga supporting him bears the features of the cardinal. Below the podium, the celebration recalls the bacchanals by Andrea Mantegna and Nicolas Poussin — the latter, Stella’s close friend and inspiration — that hung in the same room. This painting was at one time cut and amended to fit a rectangular frame. It was only recently restored to its original

oval format.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1972.362
People
Jacques Stella, French (Lyon 1596 - 1657 Paris)
Title
The Liberality of Titus (Allegory of the Liberality of Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu)
Other Titles
Alternate Title: The Liberality of Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
c. 1637-1638
Culture
French
Location
Level 2, Room 2400, European Art, 17th century, Rome and Its Influence in the Seventeenth Century
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
image: 191 x 146.2 cm (75 3/16 x 57 9/16 in.)
stretcher: 196.5 x 150.8 cm (77 3/8 x 59 3/8 in.)
frame: 222.3 x 176.5 x 15.2 cm (87 1/2 x 69 1/2 x 6 in.)
Provenance
Auguste-Louis-César-Hipolite-Théodore de Lespinasse de Langeac, comte d'Arlet, sold [Mont de Piété, Paris, July 11-19, 1803, lot 235]; [1] to Lovencourt, Paris [2]. Private Collection, Massachusetts. [Richard Gray, Cambridge, MA], sold; to Lewis Nierman, 1968, partial gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1972

Notes
[1] Fredericksen states, "As for Lespinasse de Langeac, we know that he died in February, 1814, and was a dealer." "...it is not certain that the Stella was his property" but "three of the extant copies of the catalogue are inscribed with variations of [his name] indicating that he was the principle consigner" (Burton B. Fredericksen, The Getty Information Institute)

[2]. Fredericksen states, "The identity of the latter [Lovencourt] is unknown, and the name is found spelled in different ways, including even Novecoure. We have adopted Lovencourt simply because it seems to be the most common and probable form. His activity was very limited, and excepting one purchase in 1801, all of his activity (24 purchases) took place in 1803. We have no idea whether he was a dealer or a collector, nor what happened to his pictures." ( Burton B. Fredericksen, The Getty Information Institute)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift in part of Lewis G. Nierman and Charles Nierman and purchase in part from the Alpheus Hyatt Purchasing Fund
Accession Year
1972
Object Number
1972.362
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Sydney J. Freedberg, "Lorenzo Lotto to Nicolas Poussin", Apollo (May 1978), vol. 107, no. 195, pp. 389-397, p. 396, repr. p. 396 as fig. 16

Pierre Rosenberg, France in the Golden Age: Seventeenth-Century French Paintings in American Collections, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 1982), cat. no. 100 pp. 319-320, repr.

Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 196, p. 172, repr.

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990)

J. H. Elliott, ed., The World of the Favorite, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT, and London, 1999), repr. as fig. 54

Sue Welsh Reed, Richelieu: Art and Power, exh. cat., ed. Hilliard T. Goldfarb, Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal/Wallraf-Richartz-Museum/Snoeck-Ducaju & Zoon (Montreal and Cologne, 2002), cat. no. 125, pp. 290-92, repr.

Christopher Allen, French Painting in the Golden Age, Thames & Hudson (New York NY, 2003), repr. p. 101 as fig. 80

Sylvain Laveissière and Gilles Chomer, Jacques Stella (1596-1657), exh. cat., Somogy Éditions d'Art (Paris, 2006), pp. 15, 109, repr. p. 108 as fig. V.1

Old Masters in Context 2000-2006, Samuel H. Kress Foundation (New York, NY, 2006), p. 51, repr. in color

Jonathan Brown, Escritos Completos Sobre Velazquez, Centro de Estudios Europa Hispanica (2008), pp. 356-357; repr. in color as Fig 18 on p. 357.

Paola Pacht Bassani, Richelieu à Richelieu: Architecture et décors d'un château disparu, exh. cat., ed. Alexandre Gady and Paola Pacht Bassani, Silvana Editoriale (Milan, 2011), cat. no. 127 pp. 322-24, repr.

Nicolas Milovanovic and Mickäel Szanto, ed., Poussin et Dieu, exh. cat., Hazan (Paris, 2015), pp. 41-2, fig. 20

Exhibition History

La Peinture Francaise au XVII Siecle dans Les Collections Americaines, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, 01/29/1982 - 04/26/1982; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 05/26/1982 - 08/22/1982; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 09/18/1982 - 11/28/1982

Richelieu: Art and Power, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, 09/18/2002 - 01/05/2003; Wallraf-Richartz-Museum / Fondation Corboud, Cologne, 01/31/2003 - 05/04/2003

Re-View: S422 Ancient & Byzantine Art & Numismatics, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 04/12/2008 - 06/18/2011

Richelieu à Richelieu, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours, Tours, 03/11/2011 - 06/13/2011

32Q: 2400 French/Italian/Spanish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014 - 01/01/9999

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu