In this ongoing series for Fine Art Today, we take a longer look at the history and features of a soon-to-be-available artwork of note. This week: Vittorio Reggianini, “The Secret.”
Born in Modena in 1858, artist Vittorio Reggianini (1858-1939) is known today as one of the 19th century’s most talented academic realists. Educated at the Accademia di Belle Arti alongside Gaetano Bellei and Eugenio Zamphighi, Reggianini cultivated a lasting career in Italy focused on a new Continental taste for the luxurious lifestyles of the 18th and early 19th centuries.
The artist’s best works were predominantly genre subjects that highlighted the fashions and luxurious lives of ladies and gentlemen in 18th-century France. In particular, Reggianini is known for his pictures of young, beautiful, and fashionable ladies wearing sumptuous and saturated fabrics. Typically narrative in nature, the women are often involved in a romantic story or plot that is suggested in the work.
Heading to auction on May 6 via Neal Auction Company in Louisiana is a quintessential Reggianini. Titled “The Secret,” the painting displays the artist’s famed female subjects. In this example, the central figure has received a love note, which she reads in the company of her sisters. Particularly noteworthy is the verisimilitude of the satin gowns, which are executed with incredible precision. Via the auction website, “the empire waist and décolletage of the women’s dresses and the curled hair, style to resemble Grecian fashion, perfectly personify the styles worn during Napoleon’s Empire period from 1804-1815.” Auction estimates are between $80,000 and $120,000.
To learn more, visit Neal Auction Company.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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