Tito Conti (Florence 1842 - 1924)
Portrait of a Buttero
Oil on canvas in gilded frame
Signed in the upper right
Canvas measures 40x30 cm (51x43 cm including frame)
Buttero is the name of the horse shepherd of central Italy, Tuscany and Lazio.
He usually rides on characteristic saddles: the burdock especially in Lazio, the scafarda in Tuscany. The clothing of the buttero consists of fustian trousers, thighs, velvet jacket, black hat. It is protected from rain with a large coat, called pastràno (which resembles the gauchos poncho). In his hand he holds the Mazzarella, a stick used to stimulate oxen and horses.
Born in Florence Tito Conti attended the Florentine Academy from 1855 and made his debut in 1861 at the first National Exhibition. The painter remained faithful to historical subjects by presenting to the Florentine promoters works inspired by the life of Dante. After 1870 the painter’s interests turned rather towards genre painting, but it was above all with portraits that he gained an authoritative fame, at least in Tuscany. His clientele, made up of Florentine high society, appreciated the refined chromatic ranges and the drafting of his paintings, a pictorial preciousness that found the most appreciated results in the representation of the female figure as in the nude of women exhibited in Florence in 1907-1908 when, after years of absence from exhibitions, the painter returned to the public. He became a professor at the College of Fine Arts in Florence.
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