This charming painting was created by the acclaimed Italian artist, Giovanni Costa (1833-1903). Costa was trained by Vincenzo Camuccini, a major Italian Neoclassical painter. Costa fought for Italian unification under Garibaldi in 1848, but when the Roman Republic fell a year later, he was forced to leave Rome and live in the Campagna, away from the papal police. In 1870, Costa was made the Professor of Painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. His paintings can be viewed in major art collections across Europe, including The National Gallery in London. This piece is signed ‘G. Costa’ in the top left-hand corner of the canvas.
The piece depicts a woman with her young daughter and pet dog, pictured before a patterned grey-green background. The woman is dressed in a light pink silk dress, finely decorated with white flowers. A white lace shawl is wrapped around the woman’s shoulders, and her dark hair is tied in a bun with an orange ribbon. She sits on an chair, and with her left hand touches the neck of a black and tan dog, which rests its head on her lap. The woman smiles and looks down at her young daughter, who stands before her. This girl wears a fine silk short-sleeved white dress, with a large pink ribbon bow sash. Like her mother, the girl wears her light brown hair up in a bun, tied with a red ribbon. She places one hand on the dog’s head, and rests the other on her mother’s lap. The girl’s head is turned to her right, and she gazes off at something out of view. The mother places her right hand on the girl’s left forearm, possibly trying to catch her attention. This is a truly beautiful painting of maternal love and affection.
Costa painted this group portrait using oil paint on canvas. He applied the paint in short, well-blended strokes, enabling him to accurately portray the sitters. Every detail has been faithfully recorded by the artist, resulting in a remarkably naturalistic painting. The canvas is displayed in a carved giltwood frame.
Canvas- Height 107cm, width 82cm
Frame- Height 127cm, width 101.5cm, depth 7cm