Il giudizio di Paride (1583)

Allori, Alessandro (1535-1607)

Il giudizio di Paride (The Judgement of Paris)
Pen and ink on paper, 36.6 x 47.4 cm
Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York

On his father’s death in 1540, the young Alessandro Allori was adopted by Bronzino (1503-1572), becoming his pupil and a significant disseminator of his elegant Mannerist vocabulary. This delicately finished large composition, complete in all details, served as a modello (demonstration drawing) for one of four tapestry cartoons representing the story of Paris and the Golden Apple of Discord, that were delivered to the Florentine weaver Benedetto Squilli on March 30, 1583. The tapestries were probably intended for the Medici Villa at Poggio a Caiano, and were finished by June 4 of the same year. Allori‘s drawing technique and medium here closely resemble those in Bronzino‘s studies for tapestry cartoons on the life of Joseph (15491553). Here, Paris is seated at right holding a large apple in his left hand, while the striding, nearly nude Mercury at center turns to present the three goddesses at left — Venus, Juno, and Minerva — who are about to shed their clothing for the contest. Displayed at upper left are the attributes that identify the three goddesses below: the owls of Minerva, the peacocks of Juno, and the swan-drawn chariot of Venus. (MET)