ABBATI, Giuseppe
(b. 1836, Napoli, d. 1868, Firenze)

Oration (The prayer)

1866
Oil on canvas, 57 x 42 cm
Galleria dell'Arte Moderna, Palazzo Pitti, Florence

A soft light, filtering through the glass of an ancient window, illuminates a young woman engrossed in prayer in a church. A tombstone, on which some flowers are scattered, can be seen on the floor. In the background, immersed in the shadows, a man with a thick beard dressed in black is looking closely at something out of sight. The woman is wearing a taffeta gown, and the chiaroscuro effect of its drapes, comprised of folds illuminated by different intensities of light, almost make its texture tangible to the beholder.

The scene is intimate and melancholic, a fragment of daily life that only a painter "of the sentiments" like Abbati could capture with such indescribable delicacy.