Irene Parenti Duclos: A Work Restored, an Artist Revealed
Contributing authors: Sheila Barker, Rossella Lari, Jane Fortune, Annarita Caputo, Susanna Bracci, Donata Magrini. Edited by Linda Falcone.
Irene Parenti Duclos (c. 1754–1795) was active as a painter in Florence from 1773 to 1793. One of the ‘hidden women artists’ mentioned in Jane Fortune’s book Invisible Women, the restoration of one of her masterpieces has provided an opportunity to take a closer look at the artist, her time, and her art.
The Advancing Women Artists Foundation (AWA) has sponsored the restoration of the large painting by Duclos that is a copy of Andrea del Sarto’s Madonna del Sacco in the Church of Santissima Annunziata in Florence. The large canvas by Duclos is just 8 centimeters smaller than the fresco by Andrea del Sarto, and, as Rosella Lari demonstrates, was executed by the artist actually climbing up scaffolding (a rare feat for an 18th-century woman), tracing the original onto transluscent paper, and painting while still perched high up in the cloister of the church. In this way, the copy is very faithful.
This book provides an art-historical context for Duclos’s painting and presents the results of the restoration. Annarita Caputo contextualizes Duclos’s practise within contemporary methods and tastes that prioritized copying; Sheila Barker explores the artist’s patronage and the historical circumstances of her masterpiece; Jane Fortune looks at other female artists in Florence and the challenges they faced, both in the past and now, for visibility.
The volume is richly illustrated in colour with restoration process photography and comparative images. Text is facing English and Italian.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Cristina Acidini, Superintendent for Florence’s Historical, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Patrimony and for the city’s Polo Museale
Introduction by Franca Falletti, Director of Florence’s Accademia Gallery
Chapter 1 – A Fondness for Copying: Tastes and Practices during Irene Parenti Duclos’s Time by Annarita Caputo
Chapter 2 – Irene Parenti Duclos’s Copy of the Madonna del Sacco: Politics and Perfect Painting by Sheila Barker
Chapter 3 – Rediscovering Florence’s Native-born Female Artists by Jane Fortune
Chapter 4 – The Restoration of Irene Parenti Duclos’s Madonna del Sacco Comparing the Copy with Del Sarto’s Original by Rossella Lari
Chapter 5 – Irene Parenti Duclos: A Scientific Focus – Using Spectroscopy and Digital Microscopy to Reconstruct a Painter’s Technical Choices by Susanna Bracci and Donata Magrini