Giovanna and Giulia Bellelli (c.1865 – c.1866) by Edgar Degas

Giovanna and Giulia Bellelli - Edgar Degas - c.1865 - c.1866

Artwork Information

TitleGiovanna and Giulia Bellelli
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1865 - c.1866
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationLos Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, CA, US

About Giovanna and Giulia Bellelli

The artwork titled “Giovanna and Giulia Bellelli” is an oil on canvas portrait by Edgar Degas dating from approximately 1865 to 1866. As an exemplar of Impressionism, this composition offers viewers an intimate glimpse into the world of its subjects. The painting is part of the collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in Los Angeles, California, United States.

In the artwork, two young women are portrayed, ostensibly sisters given their physical resemblance and the title’s implication. The figures are captured in a moment of quiet repose, infused with a sense of realism that is characteristic of Degas’ early work. The subject on the left appears with her body facing forward while her head is turned, engaging the viewer with a direct gaze. She presents a composed demeanor, her expression tranquil, her hands neatly folded in her lap. The attire of both figures suggests an air of formality, as they are dressed in elegant, dark dresses with intricate details that include a white collar and a ribbon-tie at the neck, as well as an ornamental belt.

Their facial expressions convey a muted emotionality, with the one on the right gazing off to the side in a reflective pose, hinting at the psychological depth that Degas often sought to capture. The brushwork, while precise in rendering the figures, allows the background to dissolve into an ambiguous setting, typical of the Impressionist movement’s focus on capturing the fleeting effects of light and color rather than meticulous detail. The artwork as a whole is a representation of the artist’s keen interest in the subtleties of human expression and the elegance of portraiture.

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