Pietro Longhi Antique Venetian Pantalone Painting (Attr.)1695
This painting depicts the mask of Pantalone, who was born in Venice around 1500, and impersonates the classic Venetian merchant, miserly, lustful and despotic. The mask of Pantalone is among the best known and best loved in theatre. Hardly anyone manages to be recognized by the public like this character. This depends on the verisimilitude to reality. In fact, the character of this mask is inspired by a satirical mispronunciation of the typical Venetian merchant, seen as a malignant figure, attached to money and glitz, always ready to sniff out any bargain that comes his way.
Apart from this, Pantalone also has other characteristics that distinguish him, such as lust and love for young women. These peculiarities are not randomly inserted into an already negative character, but underline his evil and profiteering nature.
Strange as it may seem to us, the mask of pantalone and the mask of brighella have much more in common than we think. In fact, even though they have very distant geographical origins, their birth is closely linked to the figure of the Zanni from Bergamo. But what is the Zanni? He is the classic servant of masters, used to make trouble, get into trouble and cheat the people around him. In addition, both figures started out in shows where the Zanni was the protagonist, Brighella as sidekick and Pantalone as antagonist. It was then Carlo Goldoni who unified the two characters, making them much more similar to each other and more suited to a type of comedy that was no longer the commedia dell'arte, mainly followed by the poorer class, but bourgeois comedy. Visually they are also very similar, both masks cover a large part of the face, and both have thick eyebrows. In this painting he is depicted in a red suit and a long black cloak, with black headgear and shoes. In addition, his own knife at his side is clearly visible.
The technique is a very hasty but precise oil painting on canvas, in fact there are not many details, but remaining in Longhi's style it is very essential. It is the vices of the Venetian aristocracy that Longhi wants to highlight.
The frame has been restored, varnished and repositioned, making the painting suitable for even the most sparse, but art-loving environments.
An unmissable piece of art from 18th century Venice.
Pietro Longhi portrays events in the daily life of the Venetian aristocracy contemporary to him in a very realistic manner. His canvases depict typical moments of the Venetian world.
In his paintings we find the same atmosphere as in Goldoni's comedies, the settings are discreet, in private and intimate contexts. Goldoni himself, a contemporary of Pietro Longhi, admired his work and dedicated a sonnet to him in which he indicated Longhi's work as a pictorial version of his theatre. With Goldoni, we are in the midst of the 16th century, in the middle of the Venice Carnival, amid masks, music, laughter and haggling merchants. In the darkness of the calli we meet a figure dressed in red wrapped in a black cloak: it is Pantalone, the Venetian mask symbol of the commedia dell'arte made famous throughout Europe by Carlo Goldoni. The masks of the commedia dell'arte parade through the canals of Venice: from Harlequin, the foolish 'Servant of two masters', to Columbine and the cunning Brighella, the enterprising and opportunistic face of the bourgeoisie.
The cross-section of eighteenth-century life that Pietro Longhi's paintings offer us represents a precious testimony of customs thanks to which it is possible to reconstruct Venetian daily habits in detail.
By highlighting a detail, such as a gesture, he tries to evoke the essence of a situation.
There are a series of four vertical paintings that create a splendid set of late 18th century paintings attributed to Pietro Longhi.
Height: 170 cm (66.92 in.)
Width: 76,5 cm (30.11 in.)
Depth: 4 cm (1.57 in.)
The painting is in very good and original vintage condition, slight scratches and light wear consistent with its time and use. Being a VINTAGE item it is possible that it will bear some scratches or defects.