CERUTI, Giacomo
(b. 1698, Milano, d. 1767, Milano)

Boy with a Basket

c. 1745
Oil on canvas, 130 x 95 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

This painting (also called The Porter) belongs to a series of similar subjects that in part has been lot and in part is in private collections. It shows Ceruti's usual predilection for the humble and amiable aspects of everyday working life. His renderings of men at work and workers at rest earned him the nickname of "Little Beggarman" (pitocchetto); he was the bard of the otherwise unchronicled poor. This "porter" shows better than other works by the artist - which are more akin to genre scenes - his intense lyricism and idealizing abstraction. Devoid of indulgent description and reduced to essentials, the scene is composed on a system of opposed diagonals and has an atmosphere of subdued resignation. The boy, leaning against a large basket, is portrayed without apparent comment but the painting still suggests a life of hardship and Ceruti's sympathy with his subject.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.