Cleopatra, Mark Antony and the Pearl
Giovanni Battista Pittoni the younger (Venice 1687 - Venice 1767)
Queen Cleopatra holds a banquet to which Mark Antony is invited. When he expresses surprise at how lavish the banquet is, Cleopatra dissolves a priceless pearl in a glass of wine and drinks it to demonstrate her indifference to riches. In Pittoni's painting, Mark Antony, wearing armour and a red cloak, holds the bowl into which the fair-skinned Cleopatra is about to drop the pearl.
Oil painting on canvas (oval), Cleopatra, Mark Antony and the Pearl by Giovanni Battista Pittoni (1687-1767). late 1730s. Cleopatra on left with pale blue dress and yellow cloak, looks at pearl held up in left hand. Antony in armour, helmet and red cloak proffers a dish, with pleading look. Page at bottom left holds out salver and looks back, while spectator on right regards pearl. Moulded gilt frame. Pair to NT/BAS/P/16.
Brunner Gallery, Paris 1921; possibly Baron M. Lazzaroni, Nice, 1933; Pardo, 1951; Colnaghi, 1962; presented by Lord and Lady Iliffe to the National Trust, together with the house and grounds of Basildon Park, and a substantial part of their collection of paintings, in 1979
Basildon Park, The Iliffe Collection (National Trust)
Makers and roles
Giovanni Battista Pittoni the younger (Venice 1687 - Venice 1767) , artist
Boccazzi 1978 F. Zara Boccazzi, Pittoni, 1978, no. 269, pp. 186-87