Alfonso Savini - Untitled
Alfonso Savini (1836-1908), Italian
OIL ON PANEL, 6 x 8 inches
Gift of Mrs. Theodora Willard Best
Bolognese genre painter Alfonso Savini earned an international reputation during the later nineteenth century with his humorous, sometimes irreverent portrayals of court life. In this composition, the artist portrays a group of men, one of them a monk, soliciting a young woman to join them at their table. Painted on the wall behind the men, though partially obscured from their view by a standing screen, a nude Venus suggests that the young woman's hosts may have less than honorable intentions. Despite the work's small scale, Savini successfully interweaves a complex compositional arrangement of objects and figures, nuanced character interactions, opulent costumes, and a modest dose of mature allusion, appropriate even by the stringent ethical standards of the Victorian era.