Portrait of Countess Antonietta Negroni Prati Morosini as a Child

Francesco Hayez1858/1858

Galleria d'Arte Moderna - Milano

Galleria d'Arte Moderna - Milano
Milan, Italy

Commissioned by the father of its subject, Count Alessandro Negroni Prati Morosini, this painting formed part of a series of portraits celebrating the intertwined Negroni Prati and Morosini families. Countess Antonietta Negroni Prati Morosini appears at the center of an elegant but unadorned background, which is brought to life by a sumptuous still-life depiction of multi-colored flowers, which seem to blend with the bouquet she is holding on her lap and with the fallen peony at her feet. In addition to the fusion of portraiture and still-life drawing, the natural expression in the young girl's gaze and pose is one of the painting's most attractive features. In order to avoid long, tiring sessions, Hayez instead relied on the use of photographs, some of which are still housed in the Hayez Fund at the National Braidense Library.
The child's expression is one of confusion and awkwardness—understandable when a child as young as 4 is forced to stand still for long periods of time, during the lengthy process required for taking a photograph at that time. The artist did not attempt to make the portrait less realistic or more noble, giving it an unusual naturalness compared to other children's portraiture from this period. Two sketches, one for the figure of the young countess and another for the magnolia at the foot of the large vase, can be found in the Gabinetto dei Disegni (Civic Drawings Collection) of the Brera Academy.


  • Title: Portrait of Countess Antonietta Negroni Prati Morosini as a Child
  • Creator: Francesco Hayez
  • Date: 1858/1858
  • Physical Location: Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Milano
  • gift: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: w91,5 x h113 cm
  • Provenance: Donation
  • Type: painting
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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