Antonio Mancini (1852 - 1930), Rome, 1885
oil on canvas,
87.7 cm x 115.5 cm
The Mesdag Collection, The Hague
Mesdag himself titled this painting The Birthday. It is not clear whether Mancini actually intended to portray a little boy celebrating his birthday surrounded by presents. The model is his nephew Telemaco Ruggeri, who often posed for his uncle.
Mesdag was Mancini’s benefactor. He organized solo exhibitions of his work: three in the Netherlands, and one travelling show in America. The two artists never met, maintaining contact exclusively through letters.