'Catching Crabs', large Italian oil painting by Vasarri

By Vasarri, Emilio (Italian, 1862-1928)


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This superb oil painting is by the celebrated Italian artist Emilio Vasarri, who was born in 1862. Vasarri studied at the Academy in Florence and began to exhibit at Rome and Palermo as early as 1878, when he was only 16 years old. Towards the end of the nineteenth 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 a classical scene set beside the Mediterranean sea: a Roman marble terrace, adorned with a mosaic floor, overlooks the turquoise sea at sunset, with the thin sliver of sky a warm wash of yellows and pinks. The terrace is features several distinctly classical objects, including a Greek vase and an incense burner, which issues a thin wisp of smoke towards the heavens. Four women, all of whom are dressed in classical garb, sit and stand around the terrace: they wince and jump in a playful manner, trying to avoid the crabs that they have recently caught.

The painting is signed 'E. Vasarri' lower right and is contained within an ornate giltwood frame.


Sotheby's, New York, 8 March 2000, lot 87.


Artist / Maker
By Vasarri, Emilio (Italian, 1862-1928)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 19th Century
Late 19th Century
Academic, Classical, Figurative Art, Neoclassical
Giltwood, Oil on Canvas
Gold, Multi-coloured


76 cm / 29.9 inches
120 cm / 47.2 inches
7 cm / 2.8 inches


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