Juana Carlessimo, called Juana Romani (1867- 1924), began her training as the pupil of Jean Jacques Henner (1829-1905) before becoming a student of Ferdinand Victor Léon Roybet (1840-1920), and later, his mistress. Like Roybet, she chose historical subjects and painted many portraits of young, mysterious women in costume. She particularly enjoyed accurately rendering the refined materials of Renaissance fabrics. She exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon beginning in 1888.
Salomé (fig. 1), exhibited at the 1898 Paris Salon, features the same enigmatic female character as Flowers in her Hair, with her wildly tousled tresses and lightly embroidered, ruffled gown. In both paintings, she is depicted in some state of undress – her sultry expression and uptilted head further accentuating her sensuality – but whereas Salomé includes the iconography of her character's namesake – a sword and large metal platter – Flowers in her Hair avoids an overt narrative, instead celebrating the tactile qualities of the paint and cool, elegant palette as they combine to create the model's sensuous figure.
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