The New Model

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


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The New Model

In an artist’s studio in Venice, an elderly gondolier in his ragged clothes has brought his nervous daughter, in her best clothes, to pose as a model for the first time. Two experienced models dressed in the latest fashions seem to be mocking the new arrival, despite the fact that they too are local girls. 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. Skutecký successfully juxtaposes these different worlds.

The Slovakian painter Skutecký trained in Vienna and Venice and for several years painted picturesque scenes of everyday Venetian life, particularly working with 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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