Feuerbach was driven by a longing for the grandeur of times long past. Antiquity and the Italian Renaissance were his world. The son of an archaeologist who spent a good part of his life in Rome, he staged his models as if they had come from a distant age. However precise the rendering of the details, in her aloof monumentality the Roman woman in the white tunic looks more like a statue than a living person. The artist painted his beloved Anna Risi – called Nanna – more than twenty times; for him, she embodied the classical ideal of beauty.
The Frankfurt Senator and juryman Eduard Souchay (1800–1872) acquired this portrait of Feuerbach’s lover in Rome directly from the artist. Souchay, child of a Huguenot merchant family, is best known in Frankfurt for his political activities. In 1848 he was a member of the German National Assembly and was also the editor of the ‘Volksbote’ (People’s Messenger). It was due to his initiative that Frankfurt joined the tariff union. A street in Sachsenhausen has been named after him. Souchay’s wife, Helene, presented the work to the museum in 1885.