I have had lots of comments regarding the picture that goes along with my moniker, so I thought I would tell you about her.......drum-roll............. it's not me!
It is a portrait called 'Pavonia' painted in 1858 by my favourite painter, The English classical artist Lord Frederic Leighton.
The lady who sat for the portrait was Italian model Nanna (Anna) Risi;
In 1858 Leighton settled in Rome, where he met the striking Italian beauty Nanna Risi. Nanna was a cobblers wife but as a result of her sensual and classical beauty she became a much sought after model amongst the growing number of expatriate artists.
Leighton painted four studies of her which went on show at the Royal Academy in London in 1859, although Leighton managed to capture her mysterious seductive quality his relationship with her was purely platonic, always professional Leighton even made a point of writing home and described Risi as a 'handsome woman' and pointed out that his studies of her were all dressed. Leighton who was known for painting his models as mythical or historical characters, always painted Risi as 'herself'.
A Roman Lady (La Nanna)
An Italian Lady
In 1860 Nanna Risi then met and posed for the German artist Anselm Feuerbach. Feuerbach fell passionately in love with the Italian beauty. The feeling was mutual, and Nanna left her husband and child to be with him. During their time together Feuerbach painted her at least twenty times.
Risi painted by Feuerbach
Feuerbach was extremely possessive and in 1865 Risi left him for another lover, this relationship did not work out, she tried to return to Feuerbach but he would not take her back. some time later he saw her in the street in severely reduced circumstances, he merely waved at her from a distance.
I first came across a print of 'Pavonia' many years ago in an art shop in Paris, I fell in love with it, MG bought it, had it framed and she is now gracing our staircase wall.
Lord Frederic Leighton has painted many beautiful works, some of which you may be familiar with;
The Painters Honeymoon
The Countess Brownlow
Courtyard of a Mosque at Broussa
All images of Frederic Leighton's works by kind courtesy of http://www.frederic-leighton.org/
To find out more about Lord Frederic Leighton (His biography is fascinating) or to view more of his works, please visit the link above.