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Daniele Ranzoni
Prince Troubetzkoy's sons

1874
Oil on canvas, cm 113,5 x 135

Despite Margherita Sarfatti describing it as «one of his worst works», this canvas, presented in the Brera Fine Arts Academy in 1874, is considered as one of Daniele Ranzoni's masterpieces.
The three children in the portrait are the young princes Pierre, Paul and Luigi Troubetzkoy (1864-1936; 1866-1938; 1867-1957), sons of Pietro Troubetzkoy (1822-1892), a Russian prince dwelling in Italy, and Ada Winans (1835-1918), an American opera singer who, together with her husband, had accommodated in her Villa Ada the three main members of the Scapigliatura movement: Ranzoni, Tranquillo Cremona and Giuseppe Grandi. The cause of this painting is Ranzoni's deep bound with the Troubetzkoys. The painter was the young princes' teacher; and Paul, portrayed standing on the left, is the future and famous sculpture Paul Troubetzkoy, continuator of Giuseppe Grandi's lesson.
Quinsac (1997) points out the strong childish liveliness of the painting, the cheeky character despite the portrait's formality. The painting prevails for its chromatic richness: dark blues and greens build the stage with the kenzia, the figures emerge from penumbra while lights emphasises the details, the flakes, the dog's fur. It looks like a transitional moment in a restless attitude of «three brats».