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Cesare Laurenti
La Parabola
c. 1895
oil on canvas
Canvas (Individual Panel): 87 × 113 inches (221 × 287 cm)Canvas (Diptych): 87 × 226 inches (221 × 574 cm)
Credit Line
Museum purchase.
Accession Number
Born near Ferrara, Italy, Cesare Laurenti spent most of his life in Venice, the setting for La Parabola. German artists in Laurenti’s time referred to the painting as “Lebensbrücke” or “Bridge of Life.” Laurenti himself interpreted the painting in a letter to the Telfair’s first director, Carl Brandt:

“La Parabola is the presentation of human life…The race toward pleasure, until clouds of weighty thoughts and sorrow come to disturb the serenity of the young soul…. I have determined to develop the first part of my Parabola with a lively feast in which two young men invite the gay crowd of girls to participate in songs and smiles of joy. At the door of the house…there is one of these young men who imprints a kiss on the cheeks of the girl about to cross the threshold. He represents Love. After this…the girl, already thoughtful and sad, pass[es] behind the window unfolding…the flower of her virgin youth…already touched and bound to fade. I imagined the second part at the door of a church because inside poor suffering souls seek relief…. Here, one can see the man, who, clad in priestly garments, represents Faith….”

The frame seen on this work is a reproduction of the original frame, which was damaged or destroyed sometime around 1960. This reproduction of the original frame was generously funded by the Telfair Academy Guild in 2011.