Woman Playing a Lyre

Woman playing a Lyre, 1890
Cesare Saccaggi (1869-1934)
Oil on canvas
BORGM 01917
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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Woman Playing a Lyre

This work, by the Italian artist Saccaggi, was probably painted during his Parisian period. Saccaggi studied art at the Royal Academy in Turin. He moved to Paris in 1900 and successfully exhibited works at the Paris Salon.

Saccaggi did paint some portraits and landscapes, but he was best known for his richly-detailed, multi-figure historical and allegorical compositions. Saccaggi returned to Tortona in 1905 but continued to exhibit at the Paris Salon until 1927, and his works were also shown in Rome, Venice, Buenos Aires, and New York

The classical elements for which Saccaggi’s works were admired are clear in this painting. It successfully evokes the Empire period portraits by French artists such as Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805) and Baron François Gerard (1770-1837). These neoclassical portraits appealed to popular Parisian taste at that time. The unidentified sitter is shown in profile in a popular pose of neoclassical portraiture.

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