Famiglia Crespi
(Bologna, metà e oltre del XVIII secolo)

Two Shepherdesses

Oil on canvas, 94 x 129 cm (37 x 50 inches)

Chatter between friends, to while away the time, perhaps they are talking behind the back of their companion, who is arriving with a jug on her head to take her turn at milking. A new love, a spat; it is not worth our attention, so one of the subjects of the painting turns her back, showing only her profile. It is as if the painter would like to tell us that it is the quality of the painting that is important, not what it depicts. Near the end of his life, Crespi called on his family for help. Thus the same shepherdess in the centre of the canvas returns at other times, for example in the picture which is currently in Budapest (Fig. 10).

Fig. 10: Giuseppe Maria Crespi, Family of Peasants. Budapest, Szépművészeti Múzeum, © 2017.