The Crowning Glory
Published to celebrate the conservation of Lavinia Fontana’s monumental masterpiece, The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon, generously supported by Bank of America, this volume offers new insights into the life and work of a preeminent sixteenth-century Italian painter. Widely considered Fontana’s most ambitious composition, the work showcases the astonishing breadth of the artist’s talent.
This publication investigates the identities of the figures represented in this large allegorical portrait, explore the material history of the painting and the technique of the artist, and posit new theories about the origin of the painting, supported by technical examination carried out during conservation.
The circumstances surrounding the production of this painting have been shrouded in mystery for centuries. Conservation treatment has dramatically improved the legibility of the painting, revealing many previously obscured details, including a subtle inscription that finally firmly dates the work. The research presented here adds to a growing body of knowledge on Lavinia Fontana, the first professional female artist in Western Europe.
With essays by Aoife Brady, Maria Canavan and Letizia Marcattili.
Publisher: National Gallery of Ireland