L.64 Rosso? Penelope


Painting, Cabinet des Peintures, Château, Fontainebleau.

The inventory of 19 January 1692 (verified in October, 1694) of the Cabinet des Peintures at Fontainebleau (Herbet, 1937, 94) records: “Une Pénélope, peinte sur toile, du Rousse.”  If this picture was actually by Rosso, it is most likely that it was painted in France, unless it was brought from Italy after his death.  But he is not recorded as having painted any non-religious subjects in Italy.  Being on canvas makes it unusual for Rosso, whose only known painting executed on this support is the Moses Killing the Egyptian and Defending the Daughters of Jethro (P.14), as mentioned in Béguin, 1989, 833.  The inventory listing is noted by Béguin in Cox-Rearick, 1972, 5, and in Scailliérez, 1992, 18, with the attribution to Rosso as made by d’Estrechy.  The subject of this lost work suggests a relationship to the lost scenes with Penelope by Primaticcio in the destroyed Gallery of Ulysses in Fontainebleau (see Béguin, Guillaume, Roy, 1985, 300-311).