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late nineteenth century
Material and technique
oil on canvas
100 x 60 cm
Augusta Monferini
In this fine painting Mancini offers us proof of his wonderful ability to weave a canvas of light and shadows in which the figure pulsates, conveying a perception so lively and immediate that it almost appears indefinable at first sight. In the shadow of thick vegetation, this typical Neapolitan street-urchin advances with casual frankness. One arm rests on a hip, the other stretches towards the leaves of the tree. The viewer almost hears the rustling of boy’s loose shirt in the sparkling of these whites, which are echoed by the sash of a more intense white that encircles his waist and by the broad-brimmed straw hat that frames his face, only parts of which are exposed to the light, others being suggestively veiled in shadow. The sun filtering through the branches also creates fine chiaroscuros in the background of the composition, whose unity and instantaneousness of impression lie in this play of light.
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