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Adolphe Monticelli, Subject Composition

Key facts
Full title Subject Composition
Artist Adolphe Monticelli
Artist dates 1824 - 1886
Date made probably 1870-90
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 21 × 15.9 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented as part of the 'Harry Wearne Collection of Twelve Paintings by Monticelli' to the Tate Gallery, 1939; transferred, 1956
Inventory number NG5018
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Subject Composition
Adolphe Monticelli

During his stay in Paris in the 1860s Monticelli began to paint fêtes galantes. This term derives from the pictures depicting elegantly dressed men and women, generally placed in a parkland setting and engaged in conversation, that became popular in eighteenth-century France, most often associated with Antoine Watteau. This group is typical of such a scene. The specific subject has not been identified, which is often the case with Monticelli’s late pictures. Three female figure are clearly distinguishable, while another figure, which may be male, stands in the background.

The panel is thickly painted: strong, horizontal strokes are used in the landscape, while the figures are built up with thinner, more dynamic brushwork. In some areas Monticelli seems to have applied many layers of different colours right on the surface, without mixing them first on the palette.

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