Allegory of America, late 1690s

Not on Viewexpand_more

Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini traveled widely, painting dazzling, effervescent decorations for fashionable palaces and villas across northern Europe. His drawings are free and spirited, as demonstrated in this loosely executed study. The figure is the continent of America - - North and South still grouped together - - personified as a nearly naked woman, holding a bow and arrow, with a quiver at her waist, symbols easily recognized by Pellegrini's contemporaries. The decapitated head at America's foot alludes to the cannibalism presumably practiced in the New World.

Artists have long sought drawings by their predecessors. At the lower right, we see where the English painter Sir Joshua Reynolds stamped his initials as a sign of ownership.

Allegory of America
Artist Life
Italian (Venice), 1675–1741
Accession Number
Private collection, Lugt 3005c-d ("Reliable Venetian Hand"), Venice, 18th century; Sir Joshua Reynolds, Lugt 2364 (1723-1794), London; [J. M. F. Baer, London, until 1966; sold, for $560, to Mia]
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.