Caravaggio and the Painters of the North
From 21 June to 18 September 2016
During his stay in Venice from autumn 1903 to summer 1904, the British painter Walter Sickert painted a series of female portraits, mostly in indoor settings showing the subjects seated on the flowerpatterned armchair of his house on the Calle dei Frati . The portrait of Giuseppina in the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection is directly related to other works for which the same young woman had posed — such as the seated Giuseppina — and to Carolina, another of his favourite models, who is depicted in The Venetian Shawl . In all these paintings the sitters are placed in an armchair parallel to the picture plane, and there is a shadow on the left, the same range of dull colours is also used and the manner of modelling contours and juxtaposing colours is also similar. Whereas in the painting of Carolina what gave the painting substance was the shawl covering her shoulders, in the Giuseppina in the collection the painter emphasises the ring at which the young woman gazes with outstretched hand. Furthermore, the casual air the scene has about it and the manner in which the figure is set against a background without depth indicate the influence of Degas.