5 Minutes Into Sunset And Chill

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Original Artwork Information
Artist: Thomas Gainsborough 1727–1788
Title: Giovanna Baccelli
Date: Exhibited 1782
Medium: Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions: Support - 2267 x 1486 mm
Collection: Tate
Acquisition: Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1975
Reference: T02000

"The Italian dancer Giovanna Francesca Antonio Guiseppe Zanerini was born in Venice and took her mother's name, Baccelli, as her stage name. She was a principal ballerina in London at the King's Theatre, Haymarket, where she first appeared in 1774. She reached the peak of her acclaimed career during the 1780-1 season when she appeared with Gaetan Vestris and his son Auguste in several important ballets devised by Noverre. As one reviewer (quoted in Whitley, p.188) noted, she appears in this portrait in the costume, make-up and pose from a ballet she danced that season, Les Amans Surpris: 'the artist was not only obliged to vivify and embellish; but, if he would be thought to copy the original, to lay on his colouring thickly. In this he has succeeded, for the face of this admirable dancer is evidently paint-painted'. Baccelli also danced with great success in Venice in 1783-4, and at the Paris Opéra as late as 1788. Gainsborough was well-acquainted with many theatre people, including Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the famous dramatist and part-owner of the King's Theatre." - tate.org.uk

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