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early mid XVIII century
Material and technique
oil on canvas
117 x 93 cm
Alessandro Zuccari

The painting captures a young peasant boy in poor clothing, a hat on his head, as he holds out an earthenware pot to a group of ducks swimming in a pond in the foreground. The scene takes place in the countryside, rendered by the fence behind the boy and the sheaf of corn on the left in the background.
It is typical of the naturalist school that grew up in Lombardy between the 17th and 18th century and is similar to the work of Giacomo Ceruti, to whom Il Todeschini was closely linked. In paintings of this type, the emphasis on realism is combined with an ironic view of the reality of the boy’s situation, a truly wretched one. The humorous and popular  note is emphasized by the sharp expression on the face of the boy, who turns in surprise towards the viewer almost as if he has been disturbed.  
At the time, subjects like this were much sought after by art lovers and collectors, to the extent that an artist would produce numerous versions without deviating greatly from the original idea. Such works were admired above all for the spontaneous attitude and expression of the figures depicted.

Giovane allevatore d’anatre
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