This exceptional painting was created in the late 19th Century by the accomplished Italian artist, Giovanni Costa (1833-1893). The paintings in Costa’s oeuvre tend to depict beautiful young ladies, often wearing rich costumes and smiling coquettishly at the viewer. He was an exceptionally skilled painter, who created works which were strikingly naturalistic and compelling. This painting is signed in the upper left-hand corner, ‘G. Costa’.
This piece portrays a semi-nude woman, reclining on a golden-yellow seat before a deep blue hanging piece of drapery. The woman props herself up with her left arm, and rests her right across her body. In her right hand, she holds a red feather fan suggestively before her lower body. The woman wears a gold jewellery headpiece, hoop earrings and a ring. She gazes directly out at the viewer, her face expressionless. A smoking incense burner and two picked roses are placed on a table, just before the chair where the woman sits.
The woman depicted is most likely an Odalisque (a female concubine) in a Middle Eastern harem (the space in the Muslim household exclusively occupied by women). The harem was a popular subject for European Orientalist painters in the 19th and 20th Centuries. It was often imagined to be an exotic, heady space where beautiful women bathed, relaxed and entertained themselves.
This painting is rendered in oil on canvas and is displayed in a giltwood frame. The frame is elaborately carved with husk trails, stylised acanthus leaves, scrollwork, flowers and egg-and-dart mouldings.
Canvas- Height 80cm, width 100cm, depth 2.5cm
Frame- Height 120cm, width 138cm, depth 20cm