Giovanni Boldini's La Zingara is an image fraught with mystery. As a lesser-known artist, scholarship on him and this painting is sparse. This thesis details the innovations that Boldini exhibited as an artist working in nineteenth-century France, using the lenses of feminist and Marxist art historical readings for a new interpretation of this piece. Participating in the oppressive systems of capitalism, sexism, and prejudice, Giovanni Boldini created the image of La Zingara for personal gain. Painting a subject from a marginalized community, the Romani, Boldini benefitted from those systems. He "others"his Italian heritage and modern art developments to construct a portraiture totally unique to him and his oeuvre. While other artists worked on similar subjects at the time, Giovanni Boldini set himself apart through his updating of classic styles, drawing upon on the Christian iconography of the Byzantine tradition, the portraiture of Trecento and the Renaissance, and some ancient Roman conventions. Additionally, the artist capitalizes on the growing interest and commodification of japonisme to create a highly marketable work. Furthermore, this thesis explores issues of gender and class to acknowledge the difficult place that women have filled in the history of art. Finally, this thesis argues that Boldini deserves a greater place in the history of art.
College and Department
Comparative Arts and Letters
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Johnson, Brandon Esposto, "The Eternal and the Transitory: Exoticism, Otherness, and Commodity in Giovanni Boldini's La Zingara" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 9093.
Giovanni Boldini, La Zingara, Romani, Travelling Peoples, Marxism, commodity, Christian iconography, profile portraiture, Japonisme, class, gender, space, nineteenth-century, France, Italy, macchia, Macchiaioli