The Fortune-telling (1922) by Julio Romero de TorresMuseo Carmen Thyssen Málaga
'The Fortune-telling' was painted by Julio Romero de Torres in 1922. It is thought to have been painted in Buenos Aires, while Romero de Torres was there for his exhibition at the Witcomb Gallery.
Although this work was not shown at the 1922 exhibition, it did appear in another exhibition at the same gallery in 1943 and belonged to an Argentinean collection for some time.
Sitting on a window ledge are two women who symbolise duality, which is often present in Romero de Torres' paintings.
The young woman on the right, wearing a working-class dress with her legs folded, does not seem to be able to attract the attention of her companion by displaying the five of oros (a Spanish playing card)...
...the other woman is leaning back, with a melancholy expression, suggesting some kind of anxiety, perhaps over love.
Behind them lies the city of Cordoba in Spain, represented by the house and fountain of La Fuenseca, the Christ of the Lanterns, and the Palace of the Marquis of La Fuensanta del Valle, where a woman in a red shawl leans against the door.
In the area between the fortune-telling in the foreground and the landmarks in the background, Romero de Torres included a sketchy scene, in which a woman seems to be trying to grab hold of a man. This is connected with the painting's main theme of love, or rather, indifference.
One interpretation is that the young girl is in love with a married man and the fortune-teller is using the five of oros to warn her of the risks involved. In the background, the wife is attempting to hold the man back, but ultimately stands abandoned in the doorway.