“Portrait of a young woman with a pig’s head”, 19th century, France

Oil on canvas “Portrait of a young woman with a pig’s head”.

Would this represent his mood or his generous temperament?

This young woman wears a blue dress and a blue ribbon tied in her hair. In his right hand is an object whose handle is made of silver and mother-of-pearl.

The expression pig character appears frequently in literature from the 19th century. This expression represents an unpleasant person, who has a bad temper and who gets angry easily. Before this expression another was widely used “Foam like a boar” which meant to get carried away easily. A boar is a male pig used for breeding, they are known to be aggressive as they age.

The expression pig’s head is used for the first time in 1882 in the Manual of the Perfect Reservist. This expression represents a stubborn, stubborn person.

It was in the Middle Ages that the pig took on a negative meaning. It is the symbol of vice, lies, vulgarity and dirtiness. But it will later also be a symbol of abundance because its flesh is very nutritious, moreover the female reproduces regularly and gives birth to several young. In times of famine it was therefore very useful to have pigs.

Dimensions with frame:
Height: 30,31 inch (77cm)
Width: 25,98 inch (66cm)

Without frame:
Height: 24,01 inch (61cm)
Width: 19,68 inch (50cm)

19th century


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Do you have questions?