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Francesco Beda (Italian, 1840-1900)
Francesco Beda (Italian, 1840-1900)

Diplomacy

Details
Francesco Beda (Italian, 1840-1900)
Diplomacy
signed 'F. Beda' (lower right)
oil on canvas
27½ x 42 in. (69.9 x 106.7 cm.)

Lot Essay

As a student of Karl von Blaas at the Venice Academy, Beda honed his skills as an artist and genre painter. He traveled throughout Europe painting scenes of the aristocracy in their sumptuous surroundings. His technical virtuosity and animated brushwork made him a highly esteemed artist at the time. The present image of a gentlemen's game of billiards depicts a patrician group engaged in aristocratic sport around a lavish pool table. Beda's exquisite exactitude and attention to detail heighten the sense of refinement the work effortlessly imparts. Playful elements, such as the endearing dog in the lower left foreground, provide a sense of charm and whimsy often lacking in the work of his peers. The inclusion of the anomalous, dark-skinned male demonstrates the fascination with the East, which was then very much in vogue. The exoticized figure's insertion suggests the fashionable and romanticized view that was then held towards such people. Conversation ensues, with a friendly dispute seeming likely to erupt in this glimpse into a leisure activity the upper echelon then enjoyed.
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