'The Fruit Seller', Italian oil painting by Paoletti

By Paoletti, Antonio Ermolao (Italian, 1834-1912)


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This beautiful oil painting is set in Venice, with the Riva degli Schiavoni as the setting. The stepped bridge of Ponte della Paglia is visible to the right, while in the distance the edifice of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute rises into the sky. The entire scene is bathed in soft and diffuse late-afternoon light, the atmosphere tinged with a warm pinkness.

The foreground of the painting is occupied by four youths, one of whom sells fruit to the other three. The fruit seller, a young girl, holds a scales and measures the weight of a bundle of peaches, which two other young girls prepare to buy. The remainder of the foreground is populated with staffage figures: a young boy plays with pigeons; another sits on a step selling his various goods.

Paoletti’s painterly style is superb: fluid, flowing brushstrokes are used in combination with precise, delicate ones, to create a visually and texturally appealing painted surface. Moreover, the subdued, sombre colour palette employed by Paoletti grants the picture a sense of atmosphere.

The painting is contained by an ornate carved giltwood frame and is signed lower right ‘Antonio Paoletti fu Giov_ni / Venezia’.

Antonio Ermolao Paoletti was a leading painter of genre scenes working in Venice in the latter 19th Century. Paoletti is celebrated today for his charged genre pictures, which in content hark back to older traditions while in technique recognise more recent 19th Century painterly advances.

A pendant painting for this work exists, visible in the final image of this listing, and is available for purchase here.

Frame: Height 70cm, width 95cm, depth 6cm
Canvas: Height 56cm, width 82cm, depth 2cm


Artist / Maker
By Paoletti, Antonio Ermolao (Italian, 1834-1912)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 19th Century
Late 19th Century
Figurative Art, Genre, Urban Views / Townscapes
Giltwood, Oil on Canvas
Gold, Multi-coloured


70 cm / 27.6 inches
95 cm / 37.4 inches
6 cm / 2.4 inches


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