Giovan Battista Piazzetta was one of the great stars of Venetian painting in the 18th century, one of the greatest representatives of the chiaroscuro current, which placed great emphasis on the contrast between light and darkness and the dramatic quality of the characters. Piazzetta was also an important illustrator and draughtsman.
The painting, one of Piazzetta’s most famous works, was purchased from the dealer Ehrenfreud in 1887 for the Gallerie dell’Accademia.
It is a charming country scene, painted at the end of a cycle which includes “The pastoral scene” (Chicago, The Art Institute) and “A walk in the country”, known in Italian as “L’idillio sulla spiaggia” (Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz Museum). These paintings show peasant women and sheperds in a natural setting, celebrating the joys of love and every day country life.
The work, including the frame, was subject to two restorations prior to the present one, in the course of which, under a green twentieth-century overpainting, a rich decoration of gilded foliage was found.
At the beginning of its restoration, the painting was generally in good condition, however, its visual impact was poor due to the presence of a thick layer of dirt which adheres strongly to the varnish. The current restoration has made visible the original chromatic intensity, characterized by an intense chiaroscuro, allowing us to perceive once again the incredible pathos of the work.