A Fortune Teller at Venice
Oil on canvas
59.1 x 48.6 cm
Acquisition credit: Bought, 1891
National Gallery, The
Excerpt from The National Gallery, UK:
A Fortune Teller at Venice, about 1756
The scene is under the lower outside arcade of the Doges Palace, Venice, where showmen and quacks erected booths, chiefly at the carnival. The inscription on the pillar probably relates to the election or coronation in 1752 of Doge Francesco Loredan (1685 - 1762). The other inscription relates to the vacancy for the parish priest at S. Trovaso in 1752.
Pietro Falca, known as Pietro Longhi, was the main painter of everyday life scenes in 18th-century Venice. His typical small interior scenes record life in Venice, without biting satire or pretentiousness though perhaps with a trace of gentle irony. Longhi had been born in Venice, the son of a goldsmith, and trained first by the history painter, Antonio Balestra (1666-1740).
He was subsequently in Bologna, as a pupil of Guiseppe Maria Crespi, who was well known for his studies of contemporary life, influenced by the work of Dutch painters. Longhi returned to Venice before 1732, the year of his marriage, and was active for a period as a history painter. The first dated example of his typical small interior scenes is from 1741.
Pietro Longhi, Italian, (1701-1785)
b. November 5, 1701, Venice
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Art in Context - Art for the Day: November 5