Catalog of the Fine Arts Collection

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Alfonso Savini (1836-1908), Italian
Untitled, undated
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.

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