Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

  • Title: Claudia Quinta
  • Creator: Neroccio de' Landi, painter
  • Description:

    This portrait of Claudia Quinta, an early Roman patrician, was one of a series of portraits commissioned by the Piccolomini family of Siena on the occasion of a marriage in 1493. This series of paintings expresses virtues such as conjugal affection, faithfulness, consistency, and chastity. Although the figure of Claudia Quinta was most certainly painted by Neroccio de’ Landi, the landscape background and tiny narrative scenes behind her have traditionally been attributed to another artist known as the Master of the Griselda Legend. Recently however, Lawrence B. Kanter has pointed out that there are no significant reasons for ruling out Neroccio as the painter of the background images himself.

    The figure of Claudia Quinta is richly dressed, statuesque, and beautiful. She stands on top of a pedestal engraved with an inscription that says she is able to hold a boat in her hand because she is chaste and modest. In this portrait, we see the literal manifestation of this inscription as Claudia Quinta holds a boat containing a small figure in her right hand. In the background, the men who did not believe in her modesty and chastity look upon Claudia Quinta in awe and move around anxiously in response to her miraculous deed. Claudia Quinta had been accused of adultery, but she proved her purity by moving the boat, holding the goddess Cybele's image, from where it had become stuck.

  • Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Rights: Public domain
  • Subject (See Also): Allegory Chastity Classical Influences Claudia Quinta Miracles Portraits
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 15
  • Date: 1490- 1495
  • Related Work: The following are some of the paintings that scholars attribute to the Piccolomini family portrait series: 1) Joseph of Egypt : http://oculus.nga.gov/view/action/nmets.do?DOCCHOICE=27618.xml&dvs=1366653835926~370&locale=en_US&search_terms=&img_size=best_fit&adjacency=&VIEWER_URL=/view/action/nmets.do?&DELIVERY_RULE_ID=4 2) Artemisia : http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Master_of_Griselda_-_Artemisia_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg 3) Alexander the Great : http://barber.org.uk/?s=alexander+the+great&submit=
  • Current Location: Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art, Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937.1.12
  • Original Location: Siena (?)
  • Artistic Type (Category): Digital Images; Paintings
  • Artistic Type (Material/Technique): Panel; Tempera
  • Donor: Laymen; Miklós Boskovits and David Alan Brown propose this painting was commissioned by the Piccolomini family, Siena
  • Height/Width/Length(cm): 105 cm/46 cm/
  • Inscription: CLAVDIA CASTA FVI NEC VVLGVS CREDIDT AMEN/ ET TAMEN ID QVOD ERAM TESTIS MIHI PRORA PROBAVIT/ CONSTILVM ET VIRTVS SVPERANT MATERQVE DEORVM/ ALMA PLACET PRPVLO ET PER ME HVNC ORATA TVETVR (I was Claudia the chaste, but men trusted not in my troth. And yet that which I was, the prow proved as my witness. Prudence and virtue triumph, and the Mother of the Gods (Cybele), she, the gracious one, is pleasing to the people and protects them when invoked through me.)
  • Related Resources: Boskovits, Miklós, and David Alan Brown, et al, Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century. The Systematic Catalogue of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2003, pgs. 536-539;
    Kanter, Lawrence B., "Rethinking the Griselda Master." Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 6th series, vol. 142 (Feb. 2000): 148-150.