Memory of a Sorrow

Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo
1889

Depictions of female readers were common in nineteenth-century painting, but the significance of the work goes beyond the choice of theme. In the melancholic gaze of Santina Negri, the artist expressed his grief for the death of his sister Antonietta, who had died a few weeks earlier. The format of the portrait derives from Tallone, Pellizza’s instructor at the Accademia Carrara, while the construction of the space in planes of luminous colour applied in large fields recalls the painting of the Macchiaioli.

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