Teasing a Sleeping Girl

Gaspare Traversi Italian

Not on view

Traversi’s career is poorly documented, but he was unquestionably the leading genre painter in eighteenth-century Naples. He translated the half-length narrative compositions of high Baroque painters such as Caravaggio into parodic images of the social classes. Their emphatic naturalism and biting wit can be compared to the more famous English artist William Hogarth. In this characteristic example, an old man tickles a young girl who has fallen asleep with her box of keepsakes on her lap. The literal-minded humor and amused expressions of the surrounding household diffuse the latent eroticism of her limp body, parted lips, and closed eyelids.

Teasing a Sleeping Girl, Gaspare Traversi (Italian, Neapolitan, ca. 1722–1770), Oil on canvas

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