Holy Family with the Young Saint John the Baptist
72.3 cm x 58.2 cm (28 7/16 in. x 22 15/16 in.)
(Savona, Italy, 1654 - 1709, Turin, Italy)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
Lovely in description, sweet in disposition, and careful in craft, Bartolomeo Guidobono’s work is a distinctive variation upon the grand manner of late seventeenth-century Genoese painting. His style arose from his first training and lifelong collaboration in the family business of fine porcelain painting. Its larger context is the Genoese taste for Netherlandish painting that goes back to the fifteenth century. After a series of trips to Emilia, Guidobono shifted this already delicate style toward the soft contour, luminous color, and gentleness of Correggio. Later he would reconcile it with the large rhythms and efficient manufacture of Domenico Piola.
This "Holy Family" is a beautiful compendium of Guidobono’s early style. Its matrix is surely Genoese, with the figural group suggested by Piola and the pure hues reminiscent of Baciccio. Instead, the grain of light, amplitude of the figures, and tenderness reveal the recent debt to Correggio. Most impressive, however, are the refined drawing and meticulous finish, practically those of a miniature painting. In few other works of Guidobono is the craft more sustained or the reflection of his first activity more apparent. This unorthodox petite manière also anticipates the prettiness of the Rococo and the developing relation of the Genoese school to the French. In fact, the painting was at one time attributed to the eighteenth-century French painter Jean-Baptiste Le Prince.