MASTER of the Blue Jeans
(active 1680-1700 in Lombardy)

A Beggar Boy with a Piece of Pie

Oil on canvas, 86 x 71 cm
Galerie Canesso, Paris

In this painting the artist compellingly captures the child's intense, frightened gaze as he beseechingly looks at the observer. That the forlorn character desperately needs help is demonstrated by his poor, improvised meal as well as his curious garb, characterized by a tattered oversized jacket, ransacked from who knows where. The latter detail was attentively investigated by the master, who even rendered the weave of the fabric, a blue twill with a white warp, a type of cotton cloth popular in Genoa at the time and thus promptly called "jeans" in English-speaking countries (from "Genoa" attested since the sixteenth century).