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Old Master Drawings 17th-18th c. Italian

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Study for the ‘Allegory of Poetry’ or ‘Music’

circa 1660
17th century
16.2 cm x 20.7 cm (6 3/8 in. x 8 1/8 in.)

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (Genoa, Italy, 1609 - 1664, Mantua, Italy) Primary

Object Type: drawing
Artist Nationality: Europe, Italian
Medium and Support: Pen and brown ink with brush and a pale rose wash on cream antique laid paper
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
Accession Number: 2017.1025

This drawing represents an early idea for an especially beautiful late painting, possibly commissioned by the Duke of Mantua, Castiglione’s principal patron from the 1650s onward, presently in a Genoese private collection. Already identifiable are the personification of Poetry at the center, the bacchante to her left, and the satyr to her right. In the finished work, the three figures are more compact in their grouping, and the composition is filled with accouterments at the left. While the subject and format pertain to the Baroque classicism of artists like Poussin and Testa, the drawing’s restless forms and calligraphic line are indelibly Genoese.

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