Unquestionably painted for a precise purpose and space, these two Allegories of Comedy correspond perfectly with the descriptionof the subjectgiven by Cesare Ripa in his Iconologia. As well as the play of masks, held in the figures’ lefthands, the chromatic changes between one canvas and the other, in both clothing and use of light, illustrate the expressive variety of actions in this “sorte di poesia”(sort of poetry), which speaks to the intellect as much as it does to the eye. The crowns of foliage –laurel or ivy – provide a furtherallusion to poetry. These two oval compositions are appropriate to the requirements of the “quadro da stanza”, a genre of domestic painting that developed during the first half of the eighteenth century, often consisting of finely-composed, smiling allegorical pictures that conveyed sensuality and the game of seduction.
Attributing these two pictures to the French painter Louis Dorigny, Fabrizio Magani has suggested thatthey belong to the artistic milieu in Verona, where the artist was stimulated by the spirit and style of the compositions painted by his contemporaries Antonio Balestra (1666-1740) andGiambettino Cignaroli (1706-1770). Magani dates our Allegories to the period between 1720and 1730, not far from Dorigny’s Andromeda in the Musei Civici,Vicenza, which shares the same simplification of form in a foreshortened figure.