Art Word: Staffage

Do you remember that we have started a new practice of learning new art definitions here, on Bestarts? So here you’re another Art Word we have chosen for today – STAFFAGE.

In painting, the term staffage, is used to refer to the animal and human figures depicted within the composition. Staffage figures can be usually be found within a landscape scene where their role within the painting is not the main subject of the work. Therefore the term is can be applied to small animals and figures that are not essential to the subject matter, but rather are used to animate the composition.

To understand better, what staffage is – here’s a selection of Francesco Guardi‘s cityscapes with usage of staffage.

 

guardi-03

 

Francesco Guardi, Giacomo Guardi – Nationalmuseum NM 5830. Title: Piazza San Marco in Venice. Date: late 1780s-early 1790s? Materials: oil on canvas. Dimensions: 50 x 85 cm. Acquisition date: 1964. Nr.: NM 5830.  Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Guardi_-_Piazza_San_Marco_in_Venice.jpg. I have changed the light, colors and contrast of the original photo.

 

Francesco Guardi - National Gallery (London) NG2524. Title: View of the Venetian Lagoon with the Tower of Malghera. Date: probably the 1770s. Materials: oil on wood. Dimensions: 21.3 x 41.3 cm.  Acquisition date: 1910 (Salting Bequest). Nr.: NG2524. Source: http://luxfon.com/images/201202/luxfon.com_14678.jpg. P.S. I have changed the contrast of the original photo.

 

Francesco Guardi – National Gallery (London) NG4457. Title: Venice: The Grand Canal with Palazzo Pesaro. Date: c. 1755-1760. Materials: oil on canvas. Dimensions: 92.7 x 130.9 cm. Acquisition date: 1929. Nr.: NG4457. Source: http://collection.waddesdon.org.uk/images/large/collection/paintings/2560_pcf.jpg. I have changed the contrast of the original photo.

 

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