A Tyrolean painter working in Greece, Francesco Pige left us the most magnificent gallery of the Greek society in the early years of Independence. The frontal or three-quarter figures are portrayed looking towards the viewer, clad in traditional ethnic costumes and surrounded by elements either decorative or emblematic of their professions and social positions.
Kyriakoula Voulgari was the wife of Antonios Kriezis, who rose to political offices of the highest rank. She was member of Queen Amalia’s entourage. One of her jewels, carrying the royal emblems, reminds us of the fact.
Pige’s style is distinguished by his accurate depiction of faces and hands. An accuracy and clarity reminiscent of 15th century Flemish portraits, or those of the great French neoclassical painter Ingres. In capturing decorative details, though, such as embroidery, jewellery, in all their detail, Pige reminds us of naive, non-academic painters. He often forgets volume and perspective. Note how the flowers on Kyriakoula Voulgari’s scarf are rendered.
Another of Pige’s characteristic traits is that he does not use the brown colour, contrary to academic painters. To this he owes his clear and lucid colours.