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Pietro Longhi, 'An Interior with Three Women and a Seated Man', probably 1750-5

Key facts
Full title An Interior with Three Women and a Seated Man
Artist Pietro Longhi
Artist dates 1701 - 1785
Date made probably 1750-5
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 61.3 × 49.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1881
Inventory number NG1100
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
An Interior with Three Women and a Seated Man
Pietro Longhi

Pietro Longhi is best known for his small-scale paintings that give a glimpse inside the houses of middle-class Venetians and show people engaging in the activities of polite society. We don't know what this painting depicts, though it might be a scene from a play. In an elegant room, a servant hands a plate of food and a spoon to a man. Standing nearby are two young women dressed in beautiful gowns. They hold hands, and one of them points towards the seated man.

Prominently displayed on the wall behind is an engraved portrait by Andrea Zucchi of Gerardo Sagredo, who was elected Procurator of San Marco in 1718 (the most prestigious office in the Republic of Venice after that of Doge). The scene could be set in the Palazzo ​Sagredo, Gerardo’s family home, and could show an act of charity towards an old man in need of a meal. Gerardo had two daughters, who may be the young women depicted here.

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