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The Sheep Shearer

Giovanni Segantini

| 975.4.4549

Date : Circa 1885 | Medium : Charcoal and coloured pencils on prepared paper

This is a drawing of an image that had already been painted. Indeed, the shepherd shown shearing appears in four paintings that the artist entitled Il Reddito del pastore. It is difficult to precisely determine the order in which they were executed ­– one of them, bearing the date 1883, shows the image in a place identified as the courtyard of the Pusiano farm; its composition is broad and extended. The same image reappears without notable change in two paintings that were probably produced at the same time, but in a different format and against a more rudimentary background. A few years later in 1886, Segantini would reproduce the first of these with relative accuracy. The two drawings that relate to this set were executed after the last painting was finished. The first is a small sanguine and charcoal sketch that perfectly reproduces the main image but inverses it.  The one executed in 1886 or 1887 is probably the last in the series. The drawing is clearly designed to be a work in its own right, and Segantini made essential changes to the background. Up to this point, the artist had situated the principal image in a farm courtyard; here, he chooses a stable as a setting and creates a poetic atmosphere by simplifying the surroundings and by applying a backlit effect though the opening in the rear wall, where two silhouettes of reapers can be seen against the sunlit countryside.