The Old Cremona

John F. Peto American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

Like many works by Peto, this canvas bears the false signature of his better-known contemporary William Michael Harnett. In 1886 Harnett had painted a successful trompe-l’oeil (“deceive the eye”) picture called "The Old Violin" (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), which was reproduced in a chromolithograph the following year. Peto may have known the original or the print. Although he borrowed Harnett’s composition, he made something quite different of it. By flattening forms and disregarding modeling, he created a decorative pattern with a textural effect that is evocative rather than purely illusionistic.

The Old Cremona, John F. Peto (1854–1907), Oil on canvas, American

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