Previati Gaetano, Page Playing the Mandolin
FCIP 0057.jpg
works associated
connected artists

1,878 - 1,884; oil on canvas
cm. 75 x 60
Signed top right: “Previati”. Stamps of the Milan customs on the back, the canvas and the frame. Label on frame top left: “Gaetano Previati. Il paggetto suonatore. 1880 c. Collezione Pozzi - Novara”.
Inventory: FCIP 0057
Provenance: Vigevano, Masera Collection; Novara, Pozzi Collection (in 1969); Milan, Maria Benedetti Collection (in 1984)
Exibition: 1969, Ferrara, n. 4

Purchased by Cariplo in 1984, this is an early work by the painter, who won the Canonica Prize at the annual Esposizione di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, in 1879 with The Hostages of Crema (Milan, Pinacoteca di Brera, on loan to the Museo Civico di Crema). In addition to historical subjects, again depicted the following year in Cesare Borgia at Capua (Valentino) (Forlì, Cassa dei Risparmi di Forlì), Previati also produced works of genre painting, which were in great demand with collectors at the time. Figures in period costume, like this page, were sure of success on the market and reappeared constantly as from the 1870s also in the work of artists such as Eleuterio Pagliano and Gerolamo Induno, represented in the Cariplo Collection respectively by The Geography Lesson, The Lady Painter and The Dancing Lesson.

While Previati’s choice of subject shows the extent to which his academic training still predominated, the thick application of paint reveals the initial influence of the Milanese Scapigliatura movement, with which be came into contact in the late 1870s and early 1880s through friends like Luigi Conconi. The solid definition of volumes through the use of intense colour is also to be found in his portrait painting of this period, as can be seen in Portrait of Erminia Cairati (Milan, Galleria d’Arte Moderna) and Aurora (private collection). The latter was shown at the Esposizione Nazionale di Torino in 1884, which can also be regarded as the date of the work in the Cariplo Collection.

From November 2011, the work has been on view at the Gallerie d’Italia in Milan.


Sources:Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio Cariplo, Opere d’arte. Atti d’acquisto ex Cariplo. Fald. 2/3, pratica no. 879 R/655


Teresa Fiori, Archivi del divisionismo, Officina Edizioni, Roma, 1968, vol. II, n. III.12, p. 44, ill. n. 450, s.p.;
Gaetano Previati. Mostra antologica, catalogo della mostra, Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti, luglio – ottobre 1969, s.e., s.l., s.d. [1969], n. 4, s.p., ill. n. 4, s.p.;
Sergio Rebora, Gaetano Previati, Paggetto suonatore di mandolino, in Tesori d'arte delle banche lombarde, Associazione Bancaria Italiana, Milano, 1995, n. 630, p. 328, ill.;
Sergio Rebora, Gaetano Previati, Paggetto suonatore di mandolino, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 205, pp. 303-305, ill. p. 303;
Elena Lissoni, in Fernando Mazzocca, a cura di, Da Canova a Boccioni. Le collezioni della Fondazione Cariplo e di Intesa Sanpaolo, Skira, Milano, 2011, n. VIII.116, p. 223, ill.

Laura Casone
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