Object Image

A Lady receiving a Cavalier

Pietro Longhi has combined an image of gallantry with a glimpse of domestic life - two maids at the left work at an embroidery frame. The elegantly dressed lady of the house welcomes a dashing gentleman, who places his hand on his heart as he bows from the waist. She leans towards him and lightly fans herself.

A painting hanging on the wall behind shows Diana, the chaste goddess of hunting, surrounded by cupids who decorate a nude sculpture. This is possibly of the garden god, Pan, who is often associated with sexuality. The figure of Diana may allude to the chastity of the woman in the foreground, and Pan to the amorous intentions of her companion.

The background is fairly muted, but Longhi ...

1745-55
Oil on canvas
61.5 x 50.7cm
NG5841
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2024

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