The New Model

The New Model, 1883
Dominik Skutezky (1849-1921)
Oil on canvas
BORGM 01990
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

Balcony 

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The New Model

This painting takes place in an artist’s studio in Venice. It shows the elderly ‘gondolier’ in his ragged clothes. He has brought his nervous daughter to pose as a model for the first time and she is dressed in her best clothes. Two experienced models dressed in the latest fashions seem to be mocking the new arrival, despite the fact that they appear to be local girls too. The viewer is invited to empathise with the daughter.

The artist’s studio is furnished with paintings, gilt frames, rich hangings of silk and damasked fabrics and a Persian rug covers the ground. The room is washed with even light which floods in from a high window, through which we can see a beautifully executed view of Venetian rooftops. Skutezky successfully juxtaposes these different worlds.

The Hungarian painter Skutezky trained in Vienna and Venice and for several years painted picturesque scenes of everyday Venetian life, particularly treating pious or humorous subjects. He also worked in Vienna and Hungary and painted the luxurious world of salons and subjects drawn from the lives of army officers. Later he painted in the social realism style representing the hard-working class life of peasants and labourers. In 1900 he exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris and received an honourable mention.

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