LONGHI, Pietro
(b. 1702, Venezia, d. 1785, Venezia)

The Tooth Puller

Oil on canvas, 50 x 62 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Longhi derived his inspiration from the main sources of eighteenth-century Venetian painting: the Bolognese school, through Crespi, and English art, through Hogarth. The limpid colour of this painting dates it in the 1740's. It belongs to a genre that has some connection with Ceruti's work.

This, one of Longhi's most popular paintings, is set in front of the portico to the Doge's Palace. The inscriptions on the columns mention Pietro Grimani as the incumbent Doge and the election of Antonio Poli as parish priest of S. Margherita (which took place in 1746).

The tooth puller is proudly showing off the tooth he has just pulled for the boy holding a handkerchief to his mouth. The people passing by are wearing the traditional Venetian domino: hooded cloak and mask. The children are feeding bread to a monkey. Even the dwarf plays her part by making the "sign of the evil eye," raising two fingers to ward off ill luck.