Karl Briullov (sometimes spelt Brulloff or Bryulov) was born in St. Petersburg in 1799. He is best know for his depiction of the last menacing moments of Pompei (The Last Day of Pompeii,1830-1833), an exceptionally intricate piece. In fact, this is the painting that put him in favour both in Russia and Rome. Most of his other work involved portraiture but is otherwise romantic with intense imagery and focused detail.
Noon in Italy depicts a young woman on a ladder picking a bundle of grapes. Her lush form balances the lushness of the fruit. What I particularly like is how Karl captures the shadow of the grapes over her eyes and her pudgy pinky resting on the ladder. The folds of white fabric at her shoulder and the satisfaction in the curve of her mouth. There is something almost childlike in her discovery. The viewer is also left wondering what is going on outside this cropped image. Is someone holding the ladder?
This woman is a repeating figure he experimented with in other works. The traditional peasant dress and plaited hair is representative of the time he spent in Rome. His realistic imagery of plus size women is moving and so soft. Beautiful.