Below is a very interesting post from an interesting Italian blog.
This post is dedicated to a book from Abraham B. Yehoshua and entitled : La scena perduta.
It provides the reader with some extracts of Mr Yehoshua'sbook, related to Roman Charity.
Below is a rough translation of the post :
"Every artist has addressed the topic in a different way, depending on his personality, his genius and his courage towards the environment he was living in. [...] In many paintings, artists have portrayed the daughter looking to the side, so that she does not see her father's face, sucking. This is out of respect for him and for a sense of modesty, or perhaps for other reasons not to be revealed. From the father, and perhaps even from the girl herself. [...] It all depends on how the father is portrayed. If he is represented weak and dying then the daughter is allowed to look at him, because it is clear for the viewer that the near death neutralizes any erotic intent on both parts. The girl can then allow herself to be generous and to give her father with a sweet look, and even soustain his head. At the opposite, When he is strong and muscular, as in Meyvogel or Rubens paintings, the daughter must show herself being very cautious. [...] When the man has his hands tied behind his back, it means that the artist wants to communicate that erotic possibilities are limited, or at least kept under control, and thus the gaze of the daughter can be understood as pure. [...] When the father is free from the chains, but close to his death, his daughter can allow herself to be generous touching or looking at him. [...] In the magnificent painting by Caravaggio The seven works of mercy the daughter is nursing her father through the bars of a cell and therefore, even if the man is strong and active, it is harmless. [...] Sometimes the child touches her father's head, shoulders and the most audacious paintings show the beautiful neckline and even the other breast. Given however, that the father has his hands tied. "
Also interesting historical reflection. "In the Middle Ages the reason disappears almost completely. [...] The were some doubts on the sincerity of compassion and charity of the daughter nursing her father. It was suspected that she took advantage of the misery of the prisoner in the Oedipal sense ... ". The precision was acurate, even though in the Middle Ages the term Oedipus was not known yet. "I sensed the beginning of the desire. After all, the truth does not need to be labeled to be real. "