Large antique oil painting by Chierici entitled ‘The Mask’, 1869

GBP 150,000.00

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Object Description

Large antique oil painting by Chierici entitled ‘The Mask’, 1869
Italian, 1869
Canvas: Height 72cm, width 96cm
Frame: Height 95cm, width 118cm, depth 8cm

This large-scale oil painting is by the Italian artist Gaetano Chierici (1838-1920). Considered one of the greatest Italian genre painters of his time, Chierici is known for his charming familial scenes, rendered with an almost photographic level of realism. This painting is a version of one of his most favoured scenes, entitled La Maschera (‘The Mask’). A similar larger version by the artist dated to 1874 was sold at Christie’s, ‘19th Century European Art Sale’, 2013, lot 19 (£133,875).

The painting depicts a humorous squabble between siblings, mediated by their mother. The young girl clings to her mother’s leg in fear, whilst her brother taunts her with a frightening theatrical mask. The mother’s mouth hangs open, likely about to scold her son for his teasing. An assortment of objects are littered over the room, including shelled pea pods, cutlery, and paper scrapes, adding to the sense of chaos. Chierici effectively captures the tumultuous atmosphere, and the emphasis on the dynamics between the family members is typical of his work.

Also to be noted are the exceptional technical qualities of the work. The pictorial realism of the figures and the surrounding kitchen is achieved through the multiple layers of thin paints and glazes, resulting in a lifelike sheen. Chierici’s use of colour is also superb, contrasting the browns and neutrals of the kitchen with pops of colour from the mother’s red headscarf and the teal cabinet in the background.

Ensconced in a carved giltwood frame, the painting is signed and dated ‘ G. Chierici, 1869’ in the bottom right.

This playful genre scene is notable for its extraordinary technical realism, and is a fine example of Chierici’s work.

Object Details

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