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An Italian Courtyard
Jan Weenix
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Two young lovers sit on the steps of an inn under an Italian sky, wiling away their time flirting. He gazes up at her as she dips a sweetmeat into his glass of wine, a pearl earring lightly brushing her neck, a feather waving over her fair curls. A young black boy in magnificent uniform, possibly a slave, watches their unrestrained behaviour. He holds a tray containing a half-peeled lemon and an open oyster, often thought to be an aphrodisiac.

The inn seems to have taken over an ancient classical building with a terrace in front of it. The columns of its portico tower up out of sight. On the terrace is a statue inspired by Michelangelo’s Rebellious Slave (Louvre, Paris), which might have appealed to a Dutch collector unable to make the journey to see such a famous masterpiece for himself.

Key facts
Artist Jan Weenix
Artist dates 1642 - 1719
Full title An Italian Courtyard
Date made probably 1660-5
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 84.5 x 68.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Presented by Mrs Gifford-Scott, 1980
Inventory number NG6462
Location in Gallery Room 19
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