Andrea Appiani - inv. 275

Andrea Appiani (1754-1817)

Portrait of Mrs Marliani Milesi
1810 ca.
olio su tavola  
49 x 37,5 cm
1886 acquisto 
Inv. 275

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A note on the back of the painting identifies the woman as the mother of the well-known Bianca Milesi Moyon (Milan 1790 - Paris 1849). The latter was one of the main female characters in the intellectual and patriotic clubs of Milan in the early 19th century.
Born in Mantua, Elena Marliani married Giovan Battista Milesi; they had five daughters and one son, Carlo. Bianca was the youngest. Mrs Marliani Milesi had many intellectual friends and in her house would gather the most progressive aristocrats and artists related with the Brera Academy. Among them, the engraver Giuseppe Longhi, the painter Giuseppe Bossi, secretary of the Brera Academy, and Andrea Appiani, to whom this portrait is attributed.

Around 1810, the probable date of this painting, Appiani was considered the most important Neoclassical painter in
Lombardy, not only as a talented portraitist but also for the prestigious public commissions he received from the Napoleonic Government. 
Appiani focuses on the rendering of the intelligent and curious face of the sitter, on her acute and sharp gaze, and on her witty hinted smile. The dress of Elena Marliani Milesi and the veil on her head, following an antique-looking fashion, are painted in a hasty way close to a “not finished” effect.
In 1886 Giuseppe Bertini bought this portrait for 500 liras; the painting came from the legacy of Ernesta Bisi, the mother in law of Bertini as well as an intimate friend of Bianca Milesi Moyon.

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