A woman with red wavy hair and flushed cheeks is seated and looks shyly at the viewer. She is wearing a loose greyish-violet robe and holding a small mirror in her left hand. The woman is resting her right hand on a piece of furniture placed on her right side. The light on her pale skin and her shining red hair stands in sharp contrast to the dark green background, where most of it is hidden by shadows. During his stay in Venice, Wilhelm Marstrand was deeply intrigued and inspired by the sensuous, colouristic style that was common among the old Venetian masters. This inspiration became clearly anchored in the works that he produced during and after his stay. Veronese’s and Titian’s intense handling of light as well as Palma Vecchio’s graceful portraits of female models has in all likelihood served as inspiration for Marstrand’s portrait of this young Venetian woman.
About the artist:
Marstrand was among C.W. Eckersberg’s students and was, as the only one, very interested in narrative and illustrative painting. Marstrand worked with genre painting, literary subjects, portraiture and, in later years, history painting. He was frequently employed as a portraitist and painted a series of portraits of members of the Hage family, among others. Marstrand travelled throughout his life in the larger European countries such as Italy, France, Germany and England. He was particularly fascinated by Italy, where he stayed for several years. From here, he became a major producer of peculiar, touching, and often humorous or ironic depictions of the Italian folk life that so fascinated him.