DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 7.00 x 7.25 ins (17.78 x 18.42 cm)
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘Boldini’ lower right
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas
Ritratto di Giovane Signora is a rare early portrait by the Italian master Giovanni Boldini from 1863-65. In this work a beautiful young woman stares knowingly out towards us. The black of her dress, which engulfs her body, is a stark contrast to her unblemished white skin. She is presented against a grey background in a formal portraiture composition, which gives reference to traditional portraiture while simultaneously beckoning in a new style for the genre. The empty background signals Boldini’s early style in which he quickly painted small portraits that focused upon the image of the sitter. With just the lady’s face to hold our attention all detail is on how it expresses her personality. With light illuminating on her face, we are given a real insight into Boldini’s skill in transforming portraiture in his early Tuscan years.
There is clear evidence of the canvas size being reduced probably for conservation reasons, with the likelihood being that Boldini’s signature was cut off during the process. Although the signature that we can see on the canvas today is not an actual signature by Boldini, it also does not appear as a forgery, but rather the desire to not lose the real authorship of the painting. As an early work by the artist it shows Boldini’s experimental phase and therefore is very precious and rare for the Italian master.