Nov 26, 2008
Renaissance is Futile
Lucrezia was an intriguing woman, from a family of rat cunning politically-minded bastards. Her Dad wound up as Pope Alexander VI - the Renaissance being a time when that whole "chastity" thing was more of an offhand recommendation than a requirement.
Lucrezia reportedly had a similarly lax view of sexual morality - tales of her incestuous relationship with both her father and syphilitic brother Cesare are legendary, but quite possibly lies spread by the many and varied enemies of the Borgia clan. The rumour-mongers also painted Lucrezia as a homicidal fan of deadly toxins - prompting a classic line from Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder Goes Forth: "Baldrick, if you were to serve up one of your meals in Staff HQ, you would be arrested for the greatest mass poisoning since Lucrezia Borgia invited 500 of her close friends round for a wine and anthrax party."
But looking at the withering stare she sports in this portrait - I know I wouldn't want to get on her wrong side. Dosso Dossi must have worked very carefully indeed, and avoided all offers of a nice chianti.
Still, I love stories like this - previously unremarkable paintings picked up at a jumble sale for fourteen bucks that turn out to be the works of old masters, modern greats, or featuring famous subjects. Makes me wonder if anything in my underwhelming collection of object d'arte might be worth something one day. I've got a limited edition Futurama print hanging in my living room - it's number 72 of 100, and I'm hoping it's geek value will soar over the next few decades.
Anybody got something good hidden away? Or maybe something you're holding onto in the offchance it might have a famous association?