Pinacoteca di Brera Informazioni

Melancholy

Francesco Hayez

The work, executed between 1840 and 1842, is full of erudite references to the Italian and European pictorial tradition: from reflections on the 16th-century painting of the Veneto exemplified by the treatment of the clothing, which echoes the textural effects of Savoldo and Titian, to the citation of Flemish still lifes.
Painted for Marquis Filippo Ala Ponzoni, a patron of the arts, patriot and follower of Giuseppe Mazzini, this picture owed its popularity both to its outstanding quality and to its emblematic value, making it a symbol of the restlessness of Romanticism. The subject belongs to the half-figure category inspired by the 17th century Emilian school’s Sibyllas and Cleopatras which Hayez revisited with a greater focus on the figures’ moods. The wilting flowers also remind us of the transcience of human affairs.
The painting was bequeathed to Brera in 1889 by Marchese Ala Ponzoni.

Download hi-res image TITLE Melancholy
AUTHOR Francesco Hayez
DATE 1841 - 2
OBJECT TYPE AND MATERIAL Oil on canvas
DIMENSIONS cm 138 × 101
INVENTORY 6331
ROOM XXXVII
Work on display
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