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Imitator of Adolphe Monticelli, Torchlight Procession

Key facts
Full title Torchlight Procession
Artist Imitator of Adolphe Monticelli
Artist dates 1824 - 1886
Date made probably 1870-86
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 30.5 × 48.9 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 NG5009
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Torchlight Procession
Imitator of Adolphe Monticelli

Monticelli painted many imaginary scenes of costumed figures throughout his career. Here, a dozen characters are shown in colourful outfits, probably during a torchlight procession. The central figure in white appears to be dressed as Pulcinella, a character from Commedia dell'Arte plays. This subject was also used by Antoine Watteau, whom Monticelli greatly admired.

Nevertheless, the authenticity of this painting has been doubted. Analysis carried out by National Gallery conservators has revealed that its technique imitates Monticelli’s, while the picture is painted on pine and not on mahogany, which is the wood that Monticelli generally used. For these reasons, it is thought to have been painted by an imitator in the 1870s. Monticelli was admired by his contemporaries, and many of his companion artists were keen to emulate his style and technique.

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