The Muse Terpsichore

Cosmè Tura1460 circa

Museo Poldi Pezzoli

Museo Poldi Pezzoli

The Muse Terpsichore was part of the decoration of the Studiolo (study) in Palazzo Belfiore (near Ferrara), painted in the mid-15th century for Lionello and Borso d’Este, lords of Ferrara. This series included paintings of the nine muses; five of them are now in museums in Ferrara, Berlin, Budapest and London. Terpsichore, Muse of dance, wears a precious velvet dress, on fashion since 1450s. The strings on the front allowed the dress to be used also during pregnancy. The style of Cosmè Tura, the main Renaissance Ferrarese artist, is evident in the lower part of the painting, in the very expressive faces of the dancing putti, and in the beautiful drapery of the blue mantle covering the Muse’s legs, in the foreshortening of her red shoe, and in the barren landscape. In the upper part of the panel, the conventional face and the rigid bust of the Muse are instead by another artist, probably Angelo Maccagnino from Siena, the painter originally chosen to decorate the studiolo of Belfiore. This panel was probably unfinished and completed and updated by Cosmè Tura. The artist transformed the pagan Muse into a sort of goddess of fertility, as alluded to by her dress. Indeed, Cosmè Tura could have introduced the idea of fertility in order to celebrate the draining of marches near Ferrara ordered by Borso d'Este.

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  • Title: The Muse Terpsichore
  • Creator: Cosmè Tura
  • Date Created: 1460 circa
  • Physical Dimensions: 117,5 x 81 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Fondazione artistica Poldi Pezzoli "Onlus"
  • External Link: http://www.museopoldipezzoli.it/#!/en/discover/collections/1621
  • Medium: Tempera on panel