|'Girl with a Mandolin' (c.1870) by Jules Joseph Lefebvre; Private Collection|
French painter Jules Joseph Lefebvre, born on 14 March 1836, was a baker's son whose father encouraged him to pursue painting. He studied in Paris, became a pupil of Léon Cogniet and attended l'École des Beaux Arts. He made his debut at the Paris Salon in 1855. At first he painted historical paintings. Later on in his career he turned to painting the female figure, especially the nude. This made him very succesful. I could have chosen one of the beautiful nude paintings he had made but I was sort of captivated by the dark eyes of this gypsy girl with a mandolin. I like portraits that seem to tell a story. But I couldn't find the background story for this painting except for a discussion on a forum. For more information about the painter, you can also click here.