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A Masked Lady

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Venice (painted)

  • 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.72-1938

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A study of a lady wearing a pink and white dress with laced bodice and long sleeves and wearing a mask, known as a volto or larva and holding a fan in her left hand. 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. This figure reappears for example in the boat on the far right side of the The Bucintoro Departing from S. Marco now in The Getty Museum, Los Angeles and in the left foreground of The Piazza San Marco in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection.

Physical description

A study of a lady wearing a mask, known as a volto or larva, holding a fan in her left hand and wearing a pink and white dress with laced bodice and long sleeves. 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. This figure reappears for example in the boat on the far right side of the The Bucintoro Departing from S. Marco now in the Getty Museum, Los Angeles and in the left foreground of The Piazza San Marco now in a private collection.

Place of Origin

Venice (painted)

Date

ca. 1700-ca. 1710 (painted)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Height: 17.2 cm, Width: 9.0 cm max

Object history note

Purchased, 1938

Historical significance: This is a study of a lady wearing a mask known as a volto or larva which was usually held in place by biting on to a small ‘tongue’ on the back, is a preparatory study used for example for the figure standing in the boat on the far right side of the The Bucintoro Departing from S. Marco (The Getty Museum, 86.PA.600) and for a figure in the Piazza San Marco (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection) . She holds a fan in her left hand and wears a pink and white dress with laced bodice and long sleeves. It 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, such as the Getty Bucintoro, 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. Carlevarijs' sketches also demonstrate his great influence on Canaletto, whose figures and their arrangement often show a marked debt to the older Master such as in Venice: The Feast Day of Saint Roch ca. 1735 (National Gallery, London, NG937).

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 Masked Lady', Luca Carlevarijs, ca. 1700-ca. 1710

Materials

Oil paint; Canvas

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Mask; Fans (costume accessories); Woman

Categories

Paintings; Clothing; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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