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By Vasarri, Emilio (Italian, 1862-1928)
This superb painting by the Italian artist Emilio Vasarri depicts, in the Academic style, a playful scene set within a villa inspired by Ancient Rome.
This large and impressive oil painting is by the Italian artist Emilio Vasarri, who was born in 1862. Vasarri studied at the celebrated Academy in Florence and began to exhibit at Rome and Palermo as early as 1878, when he was just 16. Towards the end of the 19th Century, Vasarri moved to Paris, where he became a regular exhibitor at the Salon and contributed paintings to the Exposition Universelle of 1900. Vasarri is best known for his genre scenes set within historically and archaeologically accurate portrayals of Classical antiquity; his most popular setting is that of the Pompeian villa. The present painting is a fine example of his work, demonstrating the quality and character of his style.
The painting depicts ten figures situated around a large terrace. In the centre of the scene, two women and a man play blind man’s buff (also known as blind man’s bluff): the man figure tentatively steps forward, his hands reaching to attempt to feel his way. Two women playfully jeer at his progress, as he is about to step into a fountain. The remaining figures are positioned in two groups: three to the left of the scene, and four in the right background. One woman plays the lyre, while another blows horns; other figures laugh at the game unfolding before them. The painterly manner is fluid, and the colour palette bright and vibrant.
The setting is distinctly Roman: from the classicising nature of the marble terrace, to the fountain surmounted by a nude bronze, to the tripod alter, to the mosaic floors. The dress of the figures is inspired by Ancient Rome, too. Vasarri’s work can be compared to the Classical Academic painting of artists like Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Frederic Leighton, two contemporaries active in London.
The painting, which is contained within a fine carved giltwood frame, is signed 'Vasarri' to the base of the fountain.
Frame: Height 102cm, width 157cm
Canvas: Height 75cm, width 132cm
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