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Madonna and Child in Glory with an Angel
53.5 cm x 39.2 cm (21 1/16 in. x 15 7/16 in.)
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione
(Genoa, Italy, 1609 - 1664, Mantua, Italy)
Medium and Support:
Oil on antique laid paper mounted on canvas
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
Monumental in conception and pictorial in development, this work dramatizes the interrelation of media and character of research in Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione’s art. Brush with oil paint on paper was his preferred graphic technique after around 1650. Although the motif recalls several altarpieces, and its loaded pigment and close brushwork resemble those of a preparatory bozzetto, this study was apparently conceived as an autonomous work. Such studies were the most focused and sustained of Castiglione’s innumerable variations upon motifs established in his paintings.
This sketch is also an outstanding example of the complex sources of Castiglione’s mature style. The inspiration of Rubens and Anthony van Dyck is still palpable in the technique, rhythmic articulation, and modulated light. The lyrical touch recalls another early influence, the Genoese works of Giulio Cesare Procaccini. These accommodate, however, later Roman examples: the luminous color of Giovanni Lanfranco and the extravagant form of Gianlorenzo Bernini. Specifically, the haughty Virgin and convulsed angel paraphrase the composition and invert the relationship in the sculptor’s famous Saint Theresa in Ecstasy. Not only was Castiglione in contact with Bernini during his second Roman sojourn, but the Cornaro Chapel was the sculptor’s principal project at the time.
The Suida-Manning Collection includes ten works on paper by the artist.