Thursday, April 6, 2017

Molti Ritratti: Eleonora Duse

Eleonora Duse (1858-1924) was a famous Italian actress active during the four decades centered on 1900. Her esteem was on the order of that of Sarah Bernhardt. Duse's Wikipedia entry is here.

Like Bernhardt, she lived in the age of photography, yet her fame resulted in a number of portraits being made of her by important artists. Below are examples.


Photo of Eleonora Duse

By Giovanni Boldini
As best I can tell from the Internet, this is a portrait of Duse by Boldini, though I could find only one source for this information.

By Vittorio Corcos
Corcos was a leading Italian portrait painter and contemporaneous with La Duse.  Her nose looks twisted, but that might not be Corcos' doing (see below).

By Edoardo Gordigiani - 1890

By Edoardo Gordigiani
Two images by Gordigiani, a less-known artist.

By Franz von Lenbach - 1886
This is in the collection of Seattle's Fry Museum.

By Ilya Repin - 1891
A fine drawing by Repin, who was a major Russian painter active in the late 19th century.

By John Singer Sargent - c. 1883
It seems that Duse only allowed Sargent a brief sitting, so this is little more than a sketch. More regarding what happened can be found here.  Note that (1) his version of her nose agrees with Corcos', and (2) the other portraits tend to show her in profile.

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