This pastel painting—a technique that was revived by Impressionist painters, and to which De Nittis made a significant contribution—is handled with great confidence and demonstrates the influence of Japanese prints, with the flat central character standing out against the distant background and its abundant lighting. Here, there are brief hints of passing figures, a stylistic form that also features in the oil paintings of his contemporaries, such as "Giornata di neve" (A Day of Snow), "Donna con la veletta" (Woman in the Veil), or "Presso il lago" (Beside the Lake) (Barletta, Pinacoteca Giuseppe De Nittis). The seductive female figure is conveyed with a meticulous definition, with special attention paid to the rustling dress that shrouds her elegant figure, and the enigmatic expression of her face, which is hidden by the veil.

The work, which once belonged to Angelo Sommaruga—before being transferred to the Grassi collection in 1934—was presented for the first time at the pastel exhibition of the Cercle de l'Union Artistique at the Place Vendôme in Paris in 1881. It is dated to just before this initial showcase, with opinions moving between 1880 and 1881, in keeping with the stylistic features of these works.


  • Title: Femme aux pompons (Woman with Pompoms)
  • Creator: Giuseppe De Nittis
  • Date: 1880/1881
  • Physical Location: Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Milano
  • gift: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: w88 x h115 cm
  • Provenance: Donation
  • Type: painting
  • Medium: pastel on paper

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps