Oil on canvas
Framed: 178.5 x 133.5 x 12 cm (70 1/4 x 52 9/16 x 4 3/4 in.); Unframed: 145.8 x 99.8 cm (57 3/8 x 39 5/16 in.)
Gift of the Friends of The Cleveland Museum of Art 1929.133
The preparatory drawing for this painting is also in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art (1953.626).
During the 1630s, the Genoese artist Bernardo Strozzi painted a number of female figures representing various intellectual and artistic pursuits, reflecting the appeal of such allegories among learned patrons in northern Italy. Recent scholarship has convincingly identified the subject of this painting as Minerva. The Roman goddess of war has put aside her armor for more contemplative pursuits; her upward gaze—as if seeking inspiration—recalls her other associations with wisdom, eloquence, and the arts.
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