As from 1924, Isaac Israels interrupted his daily routine in The Hague with regular visits to the South of France and Italy. On his travels to Italy, Isaac Israels not only painted colourful beach scenes of Venice and Viareggio, but also found inspiration in Rome and Florence, where he painted historical sights such as the Trevi fountains with his familiar dynamic brushstrokes, perfectly depicting the dynamic, fleeting feeling of the modern city of the 19th Century.
The present lot was likely painted in 1927, when Isaac Israels stayed in Hotel Milano, Florence, for several weeks. During this period he painted numerous oil paintings and watercolours of the Piazza della Signoria, the main square of Florence, seen from the Loggia dei Lanzi, featuring the statue of Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571). The nude, muscular hero holds the severed head of Medusa high in the air and is one of the most popular monuments of the Italian Renaissance. Today, the statue is moved to Florence's Musea Nazionale del Bargello and a copy now overlooks the piazza from the adjoining Loggia dei Lanzi.
The fleeting atmosphere of the city of Florence is captured in the almost abstract rendering of the architectural surroundings and the rapid yet purposeful treatment of the figures inhabiting the piazza. The statue of Perseus and the two gentlemen in the foreground admiring it stand out from the rest of the painting by their relatively dark colours and more elaborate treatment. In this way the dominance of the beautiful statue and it's admirers are effectively accentuated.