The recital signed 'Arturo. Ricci' (lower right) oil on canvas 26 1/2 x 36 in. (67.5 x 91.5 cm.)
Riccis models rarely step outside their elegant interior, where the rooms are always decorated with paintings, mirrors, tapestries and carpets.
The group of ladies wear sumptuous 18th century costume in a celebration of Rococo extravagance. Ricci introduces the viewer to realm of the fashionable woman where élégantes gather in the company of a suitor.
The act of reading a poem or a letter had long been a favoured subject of the genre artist. It was an ideal pretext to observe unaware figures lost in thought, as they focus on the suitor, ignoring the presence of the viewer. At the same time such works invite the viewer to speculate as to the meaning of the poem by decoding clues such as the look of the ladies or their positions. Judging from their expressions and their attitudes, they seem amused and intrigued by him.