Large Italian genre painting of ‘The Little Model’ by Francesco Beda
Frame: height 111cm, width 168cm, depth 7cm
Canvas: height 96cm, width 153cm, depth 3cm
Painted with a wonderfully sensitive touch and exceptional artistry and skill, this genre painting by the Italian artist Francesco Beda (1840-1900) shows an artist at work sketching out of the composition of his subject on canvas of a young boy who models for him just left of the centre of the frame.
Set within a grand, open, stately interior with beautiful ormolu-mounted furniture pieces in the foreground and further pieces against the back wall, the young model stands in a white tunic on a rug atop a table, with a lady seated next to him, probably his mother, while two young women watch from behind the artist, who sits behind canvas and easel and directs the boy on how to stand. Scenes such as this are highly characteristic of Beda, who would often places an artist at work among a small group of beautiful aristocratic individuals and show him either with a model or student. He also painted other genre scenes such as Chess players, and in general worked in a Rococo manner in showing an anachronistic idealisation of leisure and frivolity.
Nevertheless, he was also a highly skilled portrait artist, as demonstrated by the sensitivity and quality of the figures depicted in this painting, and his works stand out for their beautiful artistry as well as decorative quality. This piece is signed to the lower right ‘F. Beda’, and inscribed on the reverse of the canvas lower right ‘A. d. Nachlass v. F. Beda’ (From the Estate of F. Beda).