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Oil painting - A Lady Seen from Behind
  • A Lady Seen from Behind
    Carlevarijs, Luca, born 1663 - died 1730
  • Enlarge image

A Lady Seen from Behind

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Date:

    ca. 1700-ca. 1710 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Carlevarijs, Luca, born 1663 - died 1730 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased from the funds of Captain H. B. Murray's bequest.

  • Museum number:

    P.77-1938

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 2, The Wolfson Gallery, case WN

A woman wearing a white underdress with red detailing and a black overskirt and hooded mantle, seen from behind. This work is part of an album of fifty-three sketches by Carlevarijs which includes figures and objects he appears to have painted in the open air in preparation for insertion into formal compositions.
Luca Carlevarijs, (1663-1730) was an Italian painter, engraver and architect particularly known for his views of Venice. Although he was more than simply a view painter, much of his work was certainly in the genre later made popular by Canaletto and Francesco Guardi. In 1679 Carlevaris moved to Venice and is said to have made a trip to Rome in 1698. In 1703 he published Le fabriche e vedute di Venezia disegnate poste in prospettiva et intagliate da Luca Carlevaris which included 104 views of Venice. It was the most complete survey of the fabric of the city ever produced and served as a model for Venetian view painters throughout the 18th century.
This study of a woman seen from behind is one of Carlevarijs’ studies known as macchiette, the quick sketches he made with daubs of colour to indicate animated Venetian figures. Carlevarijs first drew the figures on paper, copying them from people he saw in the streets and then transformed them into lively oil sketches, such as this one, which represent a crucial part of his artistic process. Studies such as these would ultimately form part of a Venetian veduta or prospect painting, which is a genre Carlevarijs is generally credited with establishing in the eighteenth century. He populated his vedute with elegantly posed and well-dressed figures, concealing the decline of the Republic under the splendour of the pageants, festivals and regattas he often represented. While this precise figure remains to be identified in a finished painting, a woman in similar dress and slightly different pose appears in the centre middleground of The Piazza San Marco (Private Collection) suggesting that Carlevarijs made several studies of the same woman.

Physical description

A woman wearing a white underdress with red detailing and a black overskirt and hooded mantle, seen from behind. This work is part of an album of fifty-three sketches by Carlevarijs which includes figures and objects he appears to have painted in the open air in preparation for insertion into formal compositions.

Date

ca. 1700-ca. 1710 (painted)

Artist/maker

Carlevarijs, Luca, born 1663 - died 1730 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Height: 18.4 cm estimate, Width: 7.2 cm estimate

Object history note

Purchased, 1938

Historical significance: Luca Carlevarijs, (1663-1730) was an Italian painter, engraver and architect particularly known for his views of Venice. Although he was more than simply a view painter, much of his work was certainly in the genre later made popular by Canaletto and Francesco Guardi. In 1679 Carlevaris moved to Venice and is said to have made a trip to Rome in 1698. In 1703 he published Le fabriche e vedute di Venezia disegnate poste in prospettiva et intagliate da Luca Carlevaris which included 104 views of Venice. It was the most complete survey of the fabric of the city ever produced and served as a model for Venetian view painters throughout the 18th century.
This study of a woman seen from behind is one of Carlevarijs’ studies known as macchiette, the quick sketches he made with daubs of colour to indicate animated Venetian figures. Carlevarijs first drew the figures on paper, copying them from people he saw in the streets and then transformed them into lively oil sketches, such as this one, which represent a crucial part of his artistic process. Studies such as these would ultimately form part of a Venetian veduta or prospect painting, which is a genre Carlevarijs is generally credited with establishing in the eighteenth century. He populated his vedute with elegantly posed and well-dressed figures, concealing the decline of the Republic under the splendour of the pageants, festivals and regattas he often represented. While this precise figure remains to be identified in a finished painting, a woman in similar dress and slightly different pose appears in the centre middle ground of The Piazza San Marco (Private Collection, repr. Beddington, pl. 8) suggesting that Carlevarijs made several studies of the same woman.

Historical context note

This work is part of an album of fifty-three sketches by Carlevarijs which includes figures he appears to have painted in the open air in preparation for insertion into formal compositions. The figures and objects appear frequently and virtually without variations in his paintings between 1707 and 1726 and are closely related to his etchings of 1703 in Le fabriche e vedute di Venetia. Composed of 104 views of Venice, the etchings formed the most complete survey of the fabric of the city ever produced and served as a model for Venetian view painters throughout the 18th century. Carlevarijs' sketches reveal a particular attention to costume, highlighting Venetian style of dress which was highly regarded in fashionable circles throughout Europe from the 16th through the 18th centuries. The maritime republic imported raw materials from the Far East and exported finished products including highly desirable velvets and brocades. The taste for Venetian textiles persisted into the 18th century. In this period however, Venice's power was dwindling and her government corrupt. The city nevertheless sought to present a facade of a wealthy city peopled with bright and gregarious multitude engaged in pleasurable pursuits. As Carlevarijs stated in the dedication to Le fabriche, he intended his paintings to 'rendere più facile alla notitzia de Paesi stranieri le Venete Magnificenze' [render more clearly the magnificence of Venice to foreign countries]

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'A Lady Seen from Behind', Luca Carlevarijs, late 17th-early 18th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 56-63, cat. no. 60 (P.26-1938 - P.78-1938)
John Pope-Hennessy, 'A Group of Studies by Luca Carlevarijs', The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, Vol. 73, No. 426 (Sep., 1938), pp. 126-131.
Anon., 'Early Venetian Costume Studies' in Listener,22 September 1938, p. 613.
F. Mauroner, Luca Carlevarijs,2nd ed., 1945, p. 24, figs. 32 (P.57), 33 (P.55), 34 (P.69)
M. Levey, Painting in XVIII century Venice, 1959, p. 79.
W. G. Constable, Canaletto,i, 1962, pp. 70, 73 f., pl. 9 a (P.69) and b (P.55)
A. Rizzi, Disegni, incisioni e bozzetti del Carlevarijs, Exh. Cat. Udine, 1964, pp. 53-7, figs. 113-20.
The Glory of Venice : art in the eighteenth century. Jane Martineau and Andrew Robison (eds.), Exhibition held at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, September 15 - December 14, 1994 and at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., January 29 - April 23, 1995. pp. 93-97, 443-444, no. 21.
Life in XVIII century Venice, Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, 1966.
A. Rizzi, Luca Carlevarijs,1967, p. 97 f., figs. 1-53 (Bozzetti).
Isabella Reale and Dario Succi, Luca Carlevarijs e la veduta veneziana del Settecento Exh. Cat., Milano : Electa, c1994.
Venice, 1700-1800: an exhibition of Venice and the eighteenth century (The Detroit Institute of Arts [and] John Herron Art Museum), 1952, pp. 9-12, 23-26.
Luca Carlevarijs, Le fabriche e vedute di Venetia Exh. Cat., Venezia : Marsilio, 1995-1996.
Charles Beddington, Luca Carlevarijs : views of Venice Exh. Cat. (San Diego, Calif.: Timken Museum of Art, c. 2001), p. 19, fig. 17.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1938, London: Board of Education, 1939.

Labels and date

Studies of a Venetian Woman
About 1700–10

These sketches show a woman holding a fan and mask in a variety of poses. In some she gestures with her fan, possibly to communicate with her admirers or companions. Carlevarijs used rapidly painted oil sketches like this to develop the figures in his large-scale views of Venice. He depicted men and women of all classes and in a range of different activities.

Italy (Venice)
By Luca Carlevarijs
Oil on canvas
Purchased with funds from the Captain H.B. Murray Bequest
Museum nos. P.74, 76 to 78-1938 [09/12/2015]

Materials

Oil paint; Canvas

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Dress (culture-related concept)

Categories

Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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