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Antonio Mancini, 'Aurelia', about 1906

Key facts
Full title Aurelia
Artist Antonio Mancini
Artist dates 1852 - 1930
Date made about 1906
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 94 × 59.7 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Sir Hugh Lane Bequest, 1917, The National Gallery, London. In partnership with Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin.
Inventory number NG3258
Location On loan: Long Loan to The Hugh Lane (2019 - 2031), Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin, Ireland
Collection Main Collection
Antonio Mancini

Aurelia Ciommi was a favourite model for Mancini in Rome, posing for some 25 paintings. Her nickname was La Cornacchia (The Crow), expressive of her sharp and animated features. Here, she seems to reveal for our delectation an austere and elegant Renaissance portrait bust of a woman in white marble in which she takes evident delight. Mancini’s studio was full of such props. While the features of model and bust are relatively thinly painted, the surface of the canvas, teeming with flowers, is richly painted in thick globs of pigment. Contemporary collectors found such abstract paint handling to be thrillingly modern. Another portrait of ‘the Crow’ has been left unfinished on the reverse of the canvas; there, tearing at her blouse, she seems to be having a fit of intense emotion worthy of a tragic actress. It is not clear why that painting was abandoned.

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