Pietro Longhi

Theatrical Scene

Theatrical Scene
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Pietro Longhi
Genre Painting, Painting, Oil on canvas, 62x50 cm
Origin: Italy, Circa 1752

Longhi is famed for his highly original little canvases which deal almost exclusively with everyday life in 18th-century Venice. These scenes in the street, theatre, aristocratic mansions and poor houses of the island city are entertaining and sometimes comical. The artist had no interest in tragic events. His energetic little figures are like puppets playing out some endless farce. Longhi's painterly style was in keeping with his subject, for he generally preferred definite colours, without any complex use of varying shades and nuances, all applied in thick strokes of paint.

The precise content of the Hermitage painting is not quite clear. A girl sits on the edge of a sofa, covering with her fan a young man lying on the same sofa, while a fat man seems to threaten her theatrically. These are probably characters from a work by the contemporary playwright Carlo Goldoni, whose subjects were also taken from everyday Venetian life.

Style: Rococo
Source of entry: Collection of Prince M.K. Gorchakov, Petrograd, 1923
School: Venetian
Theme: Theatre

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