Longhi | The Letter

Title: The Letter
Artist: Pietro Longhi, French.
Year: 1746
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Style: Rococo
Notes & Analysis of the Artwork

Artist favored contemporary scenes of regular Venetian life.

Full of humor and implication.

  • Portrays a light comedic take on contemporary society.
  • Provide an intimate look at 18th century Venice.

The painting depicts the simple act of receiving a letter in a receiving parlor.

  • A young girl opens the letter.
    • Can be seen in the right portion of the painting.
    • Notice her coy glace at the letter bearer
  • Older woman and young girl sit by
    • They are oblivious of the encounter.
    • Can be seen in facial expressions and body language.
  • Painting hints at the everyday occurrences of flirting and bourgeois courtship.
    • highlighted in use of humor and expressions.
    • the letter bearer knowing of who the letter is from, teases the lady.

Colors play on the story being illustrated:

The Gray background brings in maturity.

  • Place against the letter bearer, it looks like something out a cartoon.
  • Kind of like a fox or something.
  • Creates a nice contrast against the colored clothing of the women.
  • Blends with the dark clothing of the letter bearer.
    • Can be connected to the black, sophistication of the bourgeois.

The light pink/white tells of when innocence meets lust.

  • The white portion of her dress serves as the innocence.
  • The letter and the pink portion of her dress serve as lust.
  • Perfect balance, plays on humor, delivers expression.

The toned-down greens are the colors of the lower class next to the upper class.

  • Creates a type of comforting tone towards the image.
  • Worn by the two older women.
  • Shows the difference in relation between the bourgeois and the woman in pink.
  • Supports the gray by bringing in maturity.

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