Giacomo Ceruti, detto il Pitocchetto - 248

Giacomo Ceruti called Pitocchetto (1691-ante 1768)

Portrait of a nun
1730 c.
oil on canvas  
83 x 75 cm
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 248

Ghislandi Room
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This young nun looks vivaciously at the spectator while indicating an imprecise point low down with her left hand. A few curls of hair escaped from her cap and give a feminine touch to the picture (Manzoni’s description of the nun of Monza comes to mind). Low down, the figure is framed by a semicircular line, a device that Ceruti employs in other paintings. The young nun wears the habit of the “Umiliate” Nuns of Varese.

Active in Brescia and, especially towards the end of his career, in Milan Ceruti left a remarkable gallery of portraits: from noblemen to poor people, preferring the latter, in genre scenes that often portray them carrying out their daily tasks. His portraits, like this one which is datable to the beginning of the 1730s, show considerable psychological insight.

J.S.