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Manfredi, Bartolomeo (1582-1622)
Gypsy Fortune TellerDate: 1616
Technique: Oil on canvas
Museum: Detroit Institute of Arts
Location: Detroit, MI, USA
Size: 121 x 153 cm Manfredi's picture has none of the theatrical charm and bright, clear light of Caravaggio's work, it seems rather a melancholy meditation on human folly and cunning. Furtive figures, wrapped in shadow, stand in a sinister Roman 'vicolo'. The dark-skinned gypsy casts a harsh spell, while her accomplice steals the youth's coins, wrapped in a handkerchief. But the gypsy, too, is fooled, for behind her a rogue robs her of a chicken, doubtless stolen, from her gown; she promises the gifts of fortune, but loses her small possessions. The painting has something of the reality of the Roman streets, where gypsies were classed with vagabonds and beggars.
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