The painting depicts Jephthah and his daughter, two Old Testament biblical characters. The girl is depicted in profile, dressed in the clothing of a seventeenth-century Venetian lady: the low-cut dress, tightened at the waist by a golden belt and fluffy sleeves; blonde hair gathered and braided with strings of pearls, dangling earrings in the ears. With one hand she brings a cloth to her face to wipe away her tears, while with the other she holds her father’s hand. Jephthah instead wears armor, a heavy red cloak rests on his right arm and seems to point out of the picture; the suffering expression.
Dimensions: cm 113,5 x 150 ( 44,7 x 59 in )
As Ludovica Trezzani indicates in her report, the painting is a replica, slightly different in size and close-up, of a composition by Girolamo Forabosco.
The original painting is now attested to its provenance from the collection of Count Czernin, imperial ambassador and collector present in Venice from 1660 to 1663. However, in the past the subject was dissolved as a representation of Angelica and Medoro, protagonists of the Ariosto poem, resulting in this interpretation from a note in the inventory of the ambassador’s collection.
In reality, the two characters would be, more likely, Jephthah and his daughter. Analyzing the documents relating to the Venetian collections between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, this Old Testament subject recurs several times with regard to the citations of the works of Forabosco. Among the various occurrences, this theme in particular is described in a purchase document by Donato Correggio, Venetian collector and patron of the artist, corresponding precisely to the known representations.
Certainly not the case with this collection, but in the documents attesting the works of ours in other collections, it emerges that he often availed himself of the help of his workshop to dismiss these inventions. This working method is the same for the work in question, more successful in some passages than others, therefore performed in his workshop, partly with his direct intervention.
– Rodolfo Pallucchini, La pittura veneziana del seicento. Volume I, Milano, Alfieri, 1981, pag. 184, fig. XIV.
– E.A. Safarik, G. Milantoni, La pittura del Seicento a Venezia, in La pittura in Italia. Il Seicento, Milano, 1989, p. 177, fig. 245.