The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, September 20, 2019

The UK's first major exhibition about Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione opens at The Queen's Gallery
Through 90 drawings and prints from the Royal Collection the exhibition aims to reinstate Castiglione in his rightful place as one of the greatest artists of the Baroque.

LONDON.- He was among the most innovative draughtsman of the 17th century. Yet Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-64) was also a violent and impetuous man, who was repeatedly in court for assault, allegedly attempted to throw his sister off a roof and was forced to leave Rome, probably after committing murder. The turbulence that characterised his life overshadowed his artistic brilliance, and Castiglione struggled to achieve recognition in his lifetime. Much of what is known about the artist is derived not from fulfilled commissions, but from court documents.

This autumn, The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace will stage the UK’s first major exhibition about Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione. Through 90 drawings and prints from the Royal Collection, which contains the largest and finest group of the artist’s work, the exhibition aims to reinstate Castiglione in his rightful place as one of the greatest artists of the Baroque.

Castiglione’s body of work is unique in the 17th century. He made huge drawings in oil, working directly on to paper without any of the customary preparation. These dynamic compositions, quite exceptional for their time, were conceived as finished works of art, despite their spontaneous and almost rough appearance. Castiglione was also one of Italy’s most significant printmakers and produced around 60 etchings. He invented the technique of monotype, drawing in oils or printer’s ink on to a metal plate and then taking a single impression on a sheet of paper. This strikingly modern hybrid of drawing, painting and printmaking was adopted by artists such as Degas and Gauguin some 200 years later.

Castiglione trained in the cosmopolitan port of Genoa in north-west Italy. His early reputation was based on his skill in depicting pastoral subjects, particularly lyrical scenes of shepherds and animals in fertile landscapes. A study of camels and goats from c.1630, probably his earliest surviving work, would have been drawn from stock motifs – camels were not to be found in even as cosmopolitan a city as Genoa. As his ambitions grew, Castiglione began to tackle grander themes of religion, mythology, legend and allegory that belie the darker undercurrents of his personality.

In 1646, Castiglione was on the verge of becoming Genoa’s leading painter, but jeopardised all in an instant. On hearing that the Doge of the Venetian Republic, Giovanni Battista Lomellini, had been advised to turn down a painting commissioned from him, Castiglione slashed the work to shreds and swore that his patron would receive nothing more. He then left the city disguised as an Armenian in a black cassock and a brimless stovetop hat.

Castiglione’s career led him to Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice and finally Mantua. His nomadic life brought him into contact with artists from all over Europe, most notably Anthony van Dyck in Genoa and the French artist Nicolas Poussin in Rome. Magpie-like, he absorbed a variety of stylistic influences and often borrowed motifs or even entire compositions. In a coloured oil drawing from the 1630s, he translates the Renaissance subtlety of Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love (1514) into a theatrical Baroque style. Castiglione is the first artist in Italy known to have borrowed directly from Rembrandt, and his etchings were heavily influenced by the natural expressiveness of the Dutch artist’s work. In a sheet of Studies of heads from the 1630s, Castiglione has clearly adapted two figures from Rembrandt’s etching Ecce Homo of 1636.

Castiglione’s powerful Head of an oriental from the late 1640s is among the finest of his monotype prints. Having drawn the image on the plate with sticky ink, the artist scraped into the surface to highlight details of the sitter’s turban, beard and fur collar. Reversing the process, Castiglione would sometimes cover the plate entirely with ink and then scrape the design into it, producing the dramatic contrasts of light and dark seen in The Nativity with angels (c.1655).

Castiglione’s greatest and most distinctive works are his large oil drawings, often executed in warm reddish-brown tones. He used the medium in a variety of ways, from a thin transparent wash that soaks into the paper, to a thick, opaque, almost dry pigment to pick out details. His finest drawings, among them Circe with the companions of Odysseus transformed into animals and the allegory of transience, Omnia vanitas, are among the most original and exciting works on paper of the entire Baroque.

Towards the end of his life, Castiglione achieved some sort of stability as a court artist to the Gonzagas, the dukes of Mantua. He died in the city in 1664, leaving hundreds of drawings in his studio, and it is likely that the works eventually passed into the Gonzaga collections. By the early 1700s the cache of Castiglione’s drawings had found their way to Venice, where his work was rediscovered by a new generation of artists, particularly Giambattista Tiepolo.

Collectors now competed for Castiglione’s drawings, and the artist finally gained an artistic reputation that he had struggled to achieve in his lifetime. In 1762 a group of 250 sheets by Castiglione was acquired by George III, as part of the collection of Joseph Smith, British Consul in Venice. Castiglione’s posthumous celebrity was short lived, however, and a century later he fell from fame – his highly original and improvised techniques at odds with the restrained classical taste of this time.

Today's News

November 1, 2013

An exceptional archaeological site at Obernai: More than 6,000 years of occupation

Christie's to sell Fender Stratocaster played by Bob Dylan at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival

Lawrence Alkin Gallery presents never-before-seen images of Kate Moss at age fourteen

The UK's first major exhibition about Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione opens at The Queen's Gallery

First display of excavated Etruscan tomb opens at the Dallas Museum of Art

Previously unseen photograph of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier is unveiled

Sotheby's London to offer the definitive portrait of Jane Austen by James Andrews

Exciting new primetime television series based on Morphy Auctions debuts in Australia

Sotheby's Paris to offer masterpieces of 20th century decorative arts from the collection of Félix Marcilhac

Gods and heroes take centre stage in Bonhams Greek Sale in London on 26 November

Walkabout: An exhibition of new works by Jay Heikes on view at Marianne Boesky Gallery

The Frist Center presents "American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell"

Visual Grace: Important American Folk Art from the Collection of Ralph O. Esmerian to be offered at Sotheby's

Blanton Museum receives Mellon Foundation grant to train future curators

In iPad era, US debates the value of cursive script

New dolphin species discovered off north Australia

Exhibition of new drawings, paintings and sculptures by Sandra Cinto opens at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Rare collection of renowned botanic works featured in Ketterer Kunst auction

Artist Kwan Sheung Chi is the first recipient of the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award

Artistic Director Juliana Engberg reveals details for 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Holocaust 'masterpiece' causes uproar at Venice film festival

2.- To be unveiled at Sotheby's: One of the greatest collections of Orientalist paintings ever assembled

3.- Bender Gallery features paintings by up and coming Chicago artist Michael Hedges

4.- Lévy Gorvy exhibits new and historic works by French master in his centenary year

5.- Artificial Intelligence as good as Mahler? Austrian orchestra performs symphony with twist

6.- Fascinating new exhibition explores enduring artistic bond between Scotland and Italy

7.- Exhibition explores the process of Japanese-style woodblock production

8.- Robert Frank, photographer of America's underbelly, dead at 94

9.- The truth behind the legend of patriot Paul Revere revealed in a new exhibition at New-York Historical Society

10.- Hitler bust found in cellar of French Senate

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful