OIL PAINTING: The Bellelli Family, 1859-1860
In 1856, the aspiring young French artist Edgar Degas traveled to Italy to study the work of the Renaissance masters and to visit members of his extended family. After stops in Naples and Rome, he stayed for several months in Florence with his aunt Laura; her husband, Baron Gennaro Bellelli; and their daughters, Giovanna and Giulia. Following his return to Paris in 1859, he spent much of the next year turning his many drawings of his cousins and their parents into what is now regarded as one of the most penetrating family portraits ever made. The Bellelli Family reveals the young Degas's talents not only as a painter but also as an astute observer of interpersonal relationships.