Based on its messy and impulsive pictoral style, "Treccia bionda" is generally dated to the beginning of the 1890s, by which point Boldini had already moved to Paris. In addition to serving as an example of Impressionist painting from that time, the faintness of the strokes showcases an in-depth knowledge of Frans Hals' chiaroscuro technique; it seems that Boldini may have become close with him during a trip to Amsterdam in 1876.

Unlike many of the artist's female portraits, in which the entire figure functions as a means of showcasing all the details of the protagonists' elegant and elaborate dresses, this painting limits the appearance of the figure to the bust. The oval face of the girl—whose identity is not known—stands out thanks to the pink hues of her full-bodied complexion, while the background and clothes flake apart, the former into earthy shades and a pasty depiction of long strokes of color, the latter into semi-transparent, pearl-toned brushstrokes. Other notable chromatic features include the woman's reddish-blond hair, from which the painting takes its name, and the bouquet of small white flowers that appears behind her. The aristocratic and precious feminine elegance with which the artist portrays his subject draws parallels with the most renowned high-society portrait artists around the world, embodied by European and American painters such as John Singer Sargent, James Mc Neill Whistler, Giuseppe De Nittis, Max Liebermann, Franz von Lenbach, and many more.


  • Title: Blond Braid
  • Creator: Giovanni Boldini
  • Date: 1891 c.
  • Physical Location: Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Milano
  • gift: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: w50,4 x h65,5 cm
  • Provenance: Donated by Angelo Rizzoli, 1933
  • Type: painting
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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