The Bellelli Family

The Bellelli Family
Artist Edgar Degas
Year 1858–1867
Medium Oil on canvas
Location Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France
Dimensions 79 in × 100 in
200 cm × 253 cm
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Measuring 79 by 100 inches, The Bellelli Family is large oil on canvas painting by the French artist, Edgar Degas. It is on display at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. The painting is sometimes referred to as Family Portrait because the subjects were relatives of the artist.


The painting depicts the artist’s aunt, her husband, and their two children, all of whom lived in Italy. The aunt and children are all standing, facing more or less forward, while the husband is seated at a bureau. His face is shown in profile as he turns around to look at his wife and children.

The aunt is dressed completely in black, and it is generally thought that she was mourning for the death of her father, the artist’s grandfather.

The Bellelli Family

The woman in the picture is the painter’s aunt Laura, who was his father’s sister. Her husband was Gennaro Bellelli, and the children were Giulia and Giovanna. The family lived in Florence, where Bellelli had taken refuge after being forced to flee from Naples after an unsuccessful rebellion in which he played a major part.

Unknown Date

It is not known exactly when the painting was completed, but it was sometime between 1858 and 1867. Neither is it clear where the painting was done. It may have been started in Italy, where Degas went to study for a time, or it may have been done in his French studio. It is also possible that the artist began the work while in Italy and completed it when he returned to France.

It is known that Laura invited Degas to Florence in 1858, and the artist accepted the invitation and took the opportunity to study at the Uffizi gallery. He stayed with the Bellellis during his time in Florence. That is why it is very likely that he began the painting in Italy in that year.

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