The large canvas “Working Women” is part of a 14 canvas collection that was documented for the first time in 1931. Back then it belonged to Bernardo Salvadego’s collection and was located in the Martinengo castle in Padernello, in the province of Brescia. Later on, the canvases were separated and acquired by different private collections such as the Lechi Museum in Montichiari and the Tosio Marinengo Art Gallery. The identification of these masterpieces led to the actual rediscovery of their author, the Milanese painter Giacomo Ceruti, who is today considered one of the major artists from 18th century Lombardy.
Known as the “Padernello cycle”, these canvases were conceived as decorative pieces for various noble palaces in Brescia only to be subsequently grouped in the 19th century. They depict humble people intent on everyday chores. This could be ascribed to the tradition of genre painting, which typically represents scenes from ordinary life: such paintings were particularly appreciated by aristocrats especially for their light and inviting tone. Nevertheless, the paintings by Ceruti dedicated to such themes (all dated to the period he spent around Brescia, between 1724 and 1735) are characterized by a completely different atmosphere.