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Domenico del Frate - Early 19th Century Portrait of a Lady

Domenico del Frate - Early 19th Century Portrait of a Lady


Circa 1800 Italy

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Height 6 1/2 inches (16.51 cm)
Width 6 1/2 inches (16.51 cm)

Watercolour on ivory

Domenico del Frate (1765-1821)

Domenico del Frate was born in Lucca in 1765. He studied in Florence and Rome, working in the studio of Pietro Nocchi (1783- 1854). Nocchi, an exponent of neo-classicism had studied under Canova. Nocchi’s influence is clear in the composition of this portrait miniature; the careful consideration of colour balance combined with the overall format is very like a small version of a Nocchi portrait. It is recorded that having settled in Rome, Nate worked on ceiling and wall frescoes for churches as well as portraits and historical scenes. he also undertook commissions for the Vatican.

This portrait of a lady in Neo-classical costume depicts her holding a miniature of her husband or beloved in one hand. The figure in the miniature wears a sash and such may be a nobleman or officer. The richness of the interior, decorated in the fashionable Empire style with elegant furniture and sumptuous drapes, suggests that the sitter was a member of an Italian aristocratic family.

Ref No | 0973

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