Ignaz Stern (1679-1748)
Young woman on the morning toilet
Oil on canvas, cm 91 x 71
Between portrait, allegory and genre scene is the subject of this painting which sees a young woman intent on the morning toilet, with her face reclined and her gaze fixed on the mirror, while with her left hand she passes a white cloth over her chest; white are also the laces of the shirt that can be glimpsed under the wide golden chamber dress with sleeves adorned with blue ribbons. In front of her, on the table, an open box, probably for face powder or rouge, a jar, a comb, a ring and a medallion with a male effigy.
It is possible to trace the authorship of this refined and singular work with convincing relevance thanks to its specific stylistic and pictorial matrix, here explained with typological peculiarities typical of the repertoire of Ignazio Stern, one of the most evident masters of Italian Rococo.
Born in Mauerkirken, Austria, in 1679, Stern arrived in Italy around 1695 to train in the crowded school of Carlo Cignani, a Bolognese teacher who had lived in Forlì for about two decades, to attend to the frescoes on the dome of that cathedral. He soon had the opportunity to benefit from the good relations of the master, both with the Roman environment and with that of the Farnese dukedom; Stern stayed in Rome for about a decade (1702-1712). Following his return to Forlì (1713), where he stayed until 1724, the artist, probably supported by his old master, independently established his workshop, making use of assiduous working relationships with the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza. Towards the end of 1724 Stern moved definitively to Rome, where he was active until his death (1748).
Returning to the painting in question, its expressive grace and expository sweetness bring us back to the peculiar connotations of Ignazio Stern, in that very way of grafting, on a somewhat rigid and initial formation from beyond the Alps, ancient Emilian experiences (Correggio, Barocci) and contemporary (Cignani, Pasinelli, Dal Sole).
A canvas with dazzling and light colors, with smooth shapes, with languid gestures and with the muffled atmosphere typical of an early Rococo.
The painting is accompanied by the expertise of the art historian Massimo Pirondini, one of the leading experts on Emilian painting in Italy.
He underwent a conservative restoration at the Plazzoli Restauri laboratory.
The painting leaves the collection with a 17th century salvator frame in gilded wood.