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Collector and stockbrocker Leopoldo Albini commissioned this canvas together with the "Angelo della vita," presumably some time before 1891. The depiction of the female figure bears a resemblence to Venetian Renaissance prototypes, including the "Venere di Dresda" (Venus of Dresden) by Giorgione and Tiziano and the "Venere di Urbino" (Venus of Urbino) by Tiziano.
The current oval-shaped version of the painting is the result of subsequent reworkings of the first draft that was made in 1894. Presented at Segantini's personal exhibition at Sforza Castle in that same year, "Dea pagana o Angelo dell’amore," was to form a pendant with the "Angelo della vita" with which it shared its shape and mountainous background landscape, as can be seen in photographs from the time.
Segantini later reworked the painting for the first time after some criticism: the female figure, who was initially nude, was deemed inappropriate, so the artist crafted the surrounding red drapery that covers her, blending with her thick blonde hair. An extended portion of the landscape was covered with burnished gold polish, framing the image in its current oval shape. Finally, the 1930s, the elaborate golden frame would be added above this layer of gold.
Sold to the Alberto Grubicy Gallery by 1899, the canvas later passed to Ercole Vaghi's collection; he donated it to the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in 1927.

Details

  • Title: Pagan Goddess, or Goddess of Love
  • Creator: Giovanni Segantini
  • Date: 1894/1897
  • Physical Location: Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Milano
  • gift: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: w223 x h250 cm
  • Provenance: Donation
  • Type: painting
  • Medium: Oil and burnished gold on canvas

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