Museums and Art

Mademoiselle Dio at the piano, Toulouse-Lautrec, 1890

Mademoiselle Dio at the piano, Toulouse-Lautrec, 1890

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Mademoiselle Dio at the piano - Toulouse-Lautrec. Oil on cardboard, 63х48

Portraits of women playing musical instruments were not uncommon in the 19th century. Having written Mademoiselle Dio at the piano, Lautrec replenishes the long tradition of this theme, which was previously worked by such artists as Manet (1832–1883), Renoir (1841–1919), as well as Degas (1834–1917), who, like Lautrec was a friend of the Dio family.

Degas painted a portrait of Mademoiselle Dio twenty years ago. On the canvas of Lautrec we see in the upper right corner a portrait hanging on the wall. It is easy to guess that this is the same portrait of Degas. Depicting him on his canvas, Lautrec as if trying to catch up with a highly regarded artist. The influence of Degas is also noticeable in the unusual composition: the frame of the picture crosses the score brought to the fore. Thus, the viewer is invited to listen to the pianist’s play.

Mademoiselle Dio is depicted with emphasized composure and rigor - her eyes are fixed on the score, her hands are lowered on the keys, it seems she is completely engulfed in music. Blue glare is scattered across her dark dress, sharp brown strokes emphasize the warmth of her hair, and the piano keys and score are flooded with a greenish light.

Short, jerky strokes show that during this period (1888-1890) Lautrec was close to the neo-Impressionists and Van Gogh (this painting delighted Vincent, he wrote to Theo’s brother: Lautrec’s painting, a portrait of the pianist, really affects. I looked at admiration).

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