This elegant portrait depicts the artist’s wife, Musi, wearing a large veiled hat, which creates a mysterious and powerful effect. The beauty of the sitter is enhanced by her sensual gaze, her long neck and her soft red lips. The pale brushstrokes executed by the artist to capture the skin tone of his wife, recreate a powerful and striking effect. The artist contrasts the white tones of the painting with the ochre of the sitter’s jacket and the dark palette of her hat.
Renato Tomassi was renowned in the first half of the 20th century for his exquisite and refined portraits. The artist was highly appreciated particularly by the aristocracy and the German upper classes, who were competing to commission one of his portraits. Of noble origins (his grandmother was a Giustiniani), Tomassi managed to easily enter the important aristocratic circles of his time. After his encounter with the Hungarian realist artist Robert Wellmann, in 1903, Tomassi became his pupil in Rome. In 1905 he exhibited at the Mostra della Secessione Romana, where he was noticed and befriend by the German artist Otto Greiner. Thanks to his training at Sigmund Lipinsky’s school in via Margutta in Rome, the painter became acquainted with various Central European artists and patrons. Tomassi travelled extensively in Germany, studying in Berlin, and Northern Europe, becoming fascinated by the modern Secessionism. The artist's favourite subjects were always women, most importantly his wife, his daughter Enza and his nieces Gloria and Nadia.