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Maker(s):Longhi, Pietro
Culture:Italian (1702 - 1785)
Title:La Furlana
Date Made:ca. 1750
Materials:oil on canvas
Place Made:Italy
Measurements:stretcher: 24 3/8 x 20 1/16 in.; 61.9125 x 50.9588 cm
Accession Number:  SC 1947.2.1
Credit Line:Purchased with the Drayton Hillyer Fund
Museum Collection:  Smith College Museum of Art

Currently on view

interior; woman; man; dance; music

Label Text:
Dancing was among the many pleasurable pastimes of 18th-century Europe and often formed part of a woman’s education. This painting by the Venetian artist Pietro Longhi illustrates a folk dance known as La Furlana. Although this scene takes place in a rustic outdoor setting, the dance eventually gained popularity at balls and masquerades organized by the Venetian aristocracy.

The Furlana is similar to a jig and is characterized by an upbeat tempo, indicated by the tambourine player in the foreground. It was typically performed by one or two couples of men and women and included movements that referenced flirting and arguing to mimic the art of courtship. This particular scene probably illustrates a dance lesson for the woman in the blue dress as well as for the others looking on from the background. At a time when marrying for love had become a new phenomenon, this painting may imply that the women will learn the Furlana in hopes of wooing future suitors of their choice rather than having their families arrange their marriages for them.

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