Virgilio, Augusto and Ottavia

Length cm 25
Spread cm 47
Sticks 18 plus 2
Italy 1770
Fan painted on kid and mounted according to the French manner. The scene, at whole page, shows the figures anciently dressed: Augustan Caesar, the wife Ottavia and Virgil who is reciting his verses. The painter places the moment on one of the Roman hills, maybe the Palatine, place of the imperial palaces, on the background the Roman buildings; on the left an allegory of a river.
The kind of figures and faces, so rounded, reminds to an Italian production; then the fact that the characters have a strong red make-up, reminds to the fashion of the last period of the Louis XV’s reign. (Abrégé du journal de Paris, vol. I Paris, 1787).
The ivory fretted sticks , even if they are very close, already have the simple and airy shape, typical of the Louis XVI’s fashion. It’s  interesting the very light gold decoration surrounding the page on both sides. On the recto, a maiden plays with two winged amorinos who hold the love “face” (torch) and the quiver.

When Virgilio read the Eneide to Auguste and Ottavia, she fainted for the emotion when in the book VI she learned the direct descent  of the family Giulia from Iulo or Ascanio, son of Enea who was son of the goddess Venus.

The Prof. G. Rimondini specifies:… Virgilio reading the sixth book to Auguste and Ottavia, I have to admit she doesn’t faint because of her descent from Enea, but because i the sixth book there are the praises of her son Marcello, Auguste’s heir and dead very young [ maybe killed by Livia, Auguste’s wife who wanted to guarantee the succession to her sons Tiberio and Druso, of the Claudian family]; who talks is Anchise, visited by Enea in the hell, he’s telling the descent of Enea.
Heu miserande puer! si qua fata aspera rumpas
 Tu Marcellus eris. Manibus date lilia plenis,  Purpureos spargam fibres animamque nepotis "...Giovinetto ben degno di pianto, così vinca tu l'aspro fato, / tu Marcello sarai. A piene mani, oh! mi date / gigli, ch'io sparga fiori purpurei, che l'anima colmi / di doni, e faccia, almeno, al nipote questo inutile onore."
They are the verses 883-885, but the whole epysode is in the verses 860-885 of the book 6 of the Eneide.
"Details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail." Leonardo Da Vinci