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Pietro Longhi, A Nobleman kissing a Lady's Hand

Key facts
Full title A Nobleman kissing a Lady's Hand
Artist Pietro Longhi
Artist dates 1701 - 1785
Date made about 1746
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 61.3 × 49.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Mrs Mary Venetia James from the Arthur James collection, 1948
Inventory number NG5852
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Nobleman kissing a Lady's Hand
Pietro Longhi

We are looking into a refined room, its walls adorned with paintings in gilded frames and its door obscured by a heavy green curtain. A man in a black robe and white wig, perhaps a Venetian nobleman, bows to a young girl, whose elegant white dress stands out against the vivid green patterned damask. He is about to kiss her hand.

Pietro Longhi has given this scene a sense of intrigue with the male servant who waits patiently to serve a drink and the woman who lingers beside the girl – perhaps her mother. She holds an offering of a pink flower, perhaps symbolising the girl’s beauty or purity.

During the 1730s and 1740s Longhi specialised in capturing the lives and customs of wealthy Venetians, and often included amorous or comical undertones.

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