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Fortunino Matania (1881-1963)

A nude woman at a marble bath c.1923

RCIN 927190

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  • A watercolour of a nude woman, seated to left at the side of an ornate circular marble bath; holding a drapery to her body. Signed, lower left.

    The age-old tradition of the nude as artist’s model, with roots in classical antiquity, takes miniature form in several life studies in the collection of miniature drawings and watercolours in the Dolls’ House, including this watercolour of a woman in a Roman bath setting. It is reminiscent of paintings of the biblical tale of Susannah and the Elders, and also recalls the works of the highly successful Victorian painter, Laurence Alma-Tadema.

    The Neapolitan artist Fortunino Matania was a prolific illustrator, war artist, and painter of scenes inspired by ancient Rome and the Bible. His studio in London was filled with the artefacts and props which appeared in his works. He rarely made preparatory studies towards a painting, preferring to work on an elaborate illustration without the aid of preliminary drawings. As an esteemed artist he was visited in his studio by celebrated painters such as Pietro Annigoni, and John Singer Sargent.

    Commissioned for the Library in Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House.

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