‘The Ice-cream Vendor’
Oil on Panel 12″ x 19″
In the great tradition of the Roman Bamboccianti genre painters of the seventeenth century, Antonio Paoletti depicted the everyday lives of the peasant classes. His subject matter was commonly Venetian, and he portrayed the Veneziani at their daily activities – flower sellers, fish sellers, melon eaters.
In this lively, engaging painting, Paoletti brings all manner of characters together – the flower sellers, the fruit sellers and the washerwomen, and engages them all in the delicious activity of enjoying ice cream.
Ice cream is traditionally associated with Italy – its closely guarded secret was actually brought from China to Italian shores by Marco Polo and while it features heavily in contemporary art, Paoletti was one of very few nineteenth century artists to choose ice cream as a subject matter.
In this painting, the enjoyment is palpable: each ice-cream eater is immersed in the gelato experience, savouring each last drop, perhaps, like the little girl in the foreground, enjoying a private, delectable moment.