Sleeping Venus, Claudio Rinaldi, 1899

Claudio Rinaldi (Urbania 1852 - after 1909)
Sleeping Venus
Florence, 1899
formerly Villa Il Roseto


The scene is entirely occupied by a completely naked female figure, with the exception of a thin veil, with a diaphanous complexion and loose red hair that falls next to her breasts. She is fast asleep, lying on her back on a sprawling bed, whose satin-lined cushions can be seen. The bright and light-colored foreground is in stark contrast to the darker background where you can see, almost emerging from the shadow, a heavy drape that lets you see the base of a classic column on the left; two winged cherubs can be glimpsed flirting.
Signed and dated lower left, it is presented in a coeval gilt frame.

Dimensions: 98 x 160 cm


Historical-stylistic analysis:

Claudio Rinaldi studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, in the 1870s, thanks to a scholarship received from the Institute of Fine Arts of Urbino. Specializing in particular in genre painting, he presented several works in national exhibitions.

The present painting constitutes one of the highest points in the artist’s corpus. The proposed subject differs from those usually faced by Rinaldi, who on this occasion instead recalls a theme widely treated and appreciated in Venetian art of the sixteenth century. The narrative modality is similar, with the female figure lying, almost abandoned, in the foreground, while behind her there is a curtain that partially reveals the environment behind it. The strong luminous contrast is also a derivation of Renaissance and Mannerist Venetian art, which in this case allows the artist to bring out the complexion and the fabrics.

A signed work, the style of the Rinaldi is clearly recognizable in the pictorial style, in particular in the physiognomy of the young woman and in the rendering of the fabrics in the foreground.
It is curious to note that the two cherubs are a later addition by the artist, a sort of modification in progress, probably the result of a rethinking in the setting of spaces and figures.

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