Dolce Far Niente: Paintings of blissful laziness 1

The Eclectic Light Company

It’s almost August, time for those of us in the northern hemisphere to abandon the sweltering cities and go to indulge in a bit dolce far niente where it’s more comfortable. While we’re doing that, let’s put aside all those busy paintings of active people. Our art needs to chill out too.

The Italian phrase dolce far niente means (literally) sweet doing nothing: it’s the very enjoyment of being idle, the indulgence of relaxation, blissful laziness. If ever there was a hallmark of a painting from the Aesthetic movement, surely it’s a canvas titled dolce far niente. This weekend, I look at paintings with that title, and a small selection of others that stand out for their blissful laziness.

Prior to 1800, there don’t appear to have been any significant (surviving) paintings with the title Dolce Far Niente, and relatively few other contenders.

winterhalterdolcefarniente Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805–1873) Dolce Far Niente…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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