Portrait of Giacinta Conti Cesi
Jacob Ferdinand Voet (1639-1700), known as "Monsù Ferdinando"
17th century, Oil on canvas
This work is a fine example of the portrait painting skills of Jacob Ferdinand Voet, known for his talent as Ferdinando de’ Ritratti. Giacinta Conti Cesi wears a simple white dress (after French fashion) with puffed sleeves tied with pink ribbons and green fabric draped over her shoulders. Her large eyes stare intensely out at the viewer, while her soft black curls are fastened with pearls; her pendant earrings shine brightly, illuminating her rosy-cheeked face. Paintings similar to this one were executed by Voet on commission from Cardinal Flavio I Chigi and are still preserved in the Stanza delle belle in the palazzo in Ariccia, which houses a series of portraits depicting Roman beauties. The so-called cabinet des dames was a Roman fashion in the 17th century, replicated by Voet for the Colonna, Altieri, Odescalchi, Savoia and other Italian families. Giacinta Conti Cesi was Duchess of Acquasparta (Rome ? - 1728), who married Giuseppe Angelo Cesi, 5th Duke of Acquasparta, and had a daughter, Isabella Cesi. Giacinta was sister of Michelangelo dei Conti, who was to become Pope under the name of Innocent XIII (1655-1724).