Giuseppe Molteni - inv. 278
This pastel portrays the mother of the collector Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli at a mature age and in mourning clothes.
Rosa Trivulzio (1800–1859) had married Giuseppe Poldi Pezzoli (1768–1833) in 1819. In 1820 their daughter, Matilde, was born and their son, Gian Giacomo, in 1822. In 1829 her husband had sat for Giuseppe Molteni, who from that moment became the family portrait painter and great friend.
Rosina suffered two great losses in her life: her elderly husband died in 1833 and her young daughter in 1840. This portrait was painted after these two events and can be dated to about 1845: it is already recorded in the family inventory of 1848.
The noblewoman is shown here half-length, seated, against a green-light blue background. The artist has concentrated all his efforts on her gentle sorrowful gaze, heightening the intimate and private nature of the work. The painting is of remarkable precision and shows such skill in the study of light that it can almost be mistaken for an oil painting.