Christ and the Centurion
14 cm x 21.9 cm (5 1/2 in. x 8 5/8 in.)
(Genoa, Italy, 1624 - 1659, Genoa, Italy)
Medium and Support:
Pen and brown ink with brush and brown wash over graphite, squared in red chalk
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Purchase through the generosity of Christie's, Australia, 2000
Valerio Castello’s paintings represent the extreme expression of a subjective and lyrical current in Genoese painting, in turn the farthest and most poetical exploration of Baroque style within a persistently Mannerist framework. Relatively rare––about 50 are known––his drawings are commensurately fluent and vague studies in pen and ink. The Suida-Manning Collection includes a fine painting by the artist, but surprisingly no drawing of certain attribution––the most significant lacuna in its 17th-century Genoese riches. This study corresponds to one of two paintings of around 1647 for the church of Santa Croce and San Camillo at Genoa. It is typical in its shimmering forms, Parmigianesque delicacy, and function as an advanced compositional study despite the appearance of a preliminary idea. Indeed, since the resulting painting was executed partly by an assistant and cut down in an 18th-century renovation of the church, the drawing gives the best idea of Castello’s intention.