Landscape with Saint Jerome and Christ Baptizing Saints
57.7 cm x 40.7 cm (22 11/16 in. x 16 in.)
Pietro Paolo Bonzi, called Gobbo dei Carracci
(Cortona, 1576 - 1636, Rome)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
Although little known, Bonzi was an early and distinctive protagonist of classical landscape painting in Rome. He began as a still life painter of Netherlandish inspiration and realist, Caravaggesque cast. Drawn into Annibale Carracci’s circle of Bolognese compatriots, he specialized in the kind of rationally ordered, firmly drawn, and incidentally populated landscape that had been invented by the master and coined by his pupil Domenichino. Referring to this stylistic relationship, his sobriquet means “hanger-on of the Carracci.” He did, however, work with other artists, collaborating on the backgrounds of frescoes by Agostino Tassi and some early works by the great High Baroque painter Pietro da Cortona.
This is a fine example of Bonzi’s independent landscape paintings. Their style is distinguished by a composition of discrete, rather flat planes, a regular and static pattern of light and shadow, and even handling. The small scale of this work is also characteristic. Here, the introduction of classical structures and handsome, Carraccesque figures enhance the monumental effect and the noble feeling.