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Fernando Hayez’s Self Portrait with a Group of Friends is a fascinating work of art, speaking to us directly across the span of nearly two centuries. Here Hayez, an Italian Romantic painter, is surrounded by his artist friends in1820s MIlan. Their costumes may be dated, yet they seem somehow contemporary especially Hayez, who confronts us with his inquiring eyes. Just above him, a second member of the quintet engages us too, while the other three comrades ignore us absorbed in their own thoughts.
The 36 year old Hayez would have the most successful career of this aspiring circle of painters and a poet (the balding figure on our right).* His best known work, The Kiss, has always been popular in Italy and once was even used to advertise chocolates.
*Source of information on Fernando Hayez (1791-1881) and Self Portrait with a Group of Friends is from the website of Milan’s Museo Poldi Pezzoli where the painting hangs today. According to the museum, Hayez might have actually created this self-portrait in 1824 and that the date of 1827 was added by another hand. His colleagues are, moving from left to right: Giovanni Migilara, Pelagio Palagi, Giuseppe Molteni, and Tommaso Grossi.
The above painting is used solely for educational purposes.