All the elements depicted in Girl with Hummingbirds have been cleverly chosen by the artist to display the sitter’s social status, from the exquisite japoniste wallpaper to the two colourful hummingbirds flying around her feathered fan. Native of South America, hummingbirds became popular among the nineteenth century upper class who started collecting them and incorporating their feathers into luxurious jewellery. The artist’s ability at reproducing the variety of fabrics in the room - from the satin dress, to the chiffon stole covering the woman’s shoulders – is a trait of his later portraits as much as of Parisian works.
Encouraged by the artist Domenico Morelli to move to Paris, upon his arrival in the French capital Corcos quickly introduced himself to the Italian expatriate artists Giuseppe de Nittis and Giovanni Boldini, both of whom would influence him greatly. However, what differentiated him from his compatriots were elements of symbolism which soon started to appear in his work and which somehow reflected a fin de siecle mood being inspired by Italian intellectuals within his circle, including Gabriele D’Annunzio.
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