Rosina Ferrara

Rosina Ferrara (18611934) was an artist’s model from the island of Capri,[1] who became the favorite muse of American expatriate artist John Singer Sargent. Captivated by her exotic beauty, a variety of 19th-century artists, including Charles Sprague Pearce, Frank Hyde, and George Randolph Barse, made works of art of her.[2][3] Ferrara was featured in the 2003 art exhibit “Sargent’s Women” at New York City‘s Adelson Galleries, as well as in the book Sargent’s Women published that year.[3][4]

Charles Sprague Pearce, Study, Rosina, Capri, 1880

At about the age of thirty, Ferrara married Barse and they moved to the United States, settling in Westchester County, New York.

. . . Rosina Ferrara . . .

In the 19th century, American and European artists and writers traveled to the island of Capri for its beautiful coastline, blue-green water, architecture, relaxed and rich culture, and the “exceptional beauty of its people” who are a mix of descendants of Roman, Greek, and Phoenician people.[2][5] For instance, inspired by the beautiful women from Capri and Naples, Alphonse de Lamartine wrote the romantic novel Graziella.[2]

Frank Hyde, Rosina, c.1880. Rosina reclined sensually on a couch, clad in a seductive classicaltoga while another young girl performs on a flute

Of Greek ancestry,[6] Ferrara was born in Anacapri on the island of Capri in 1861.[1] She is considered a descendant of Barbarossa, a 16th-century pirate.[7]

Beginning in the 1870s, she modeled for European and American artists,[1] including British artist Frank Hyde, who had a studio in the former Santa Teresa monastery.[5]

John Singer Sargent, A Capriote, 1878[5]

John Singer Sargent came to Anacapri in the summer of 1878,[2][6] as had other of his friends who were artists. While there, he met and became a friend of Frank Hyde and worked in his studio.[5] Taken by Ferrara’s beauty, he made twelve paintings of her over one year,[2] including A Capriote,[6]Head of an Anacapri Girl,[8] and Capri Girl on a Rooftop.[9]

In 1891 in Rome, she married American painter George Randolph Barse of Detroit and moved to the United States shortly after the marriage. They lived in Katonah, Westchester County, New York.[1][3] In 1934, Ferrara died of pneumonia.[1] Four years after her death, Barse committed suicide[1][3] at his home in Katonah.[10]

. . . Rosina Ferrara . . .

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. . . Rosina Ferrara . . .

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