IDLE SPECULATIONS: Lost Genius

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Lost Genius


Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-64)
St Francis in prayer
c. 1655
Dark brown, grey and white oil paint on paper
34.5 x 22.7 cm
Royal Collection Trust  © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013



Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-64)
St Francis Embracing the Cross
c. 1655
Dark brown, red brown, grey and white oil paint on paper
39.8 x 28.3 cm
Royal Collection Trust  © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013


Castiglione’s brother Paolo was a friar in the Franciscan Order

His series on the Franciscans has been described as the nearest thing to painting that is not painting

The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London presently have an exhibition of the works of the Italian Baroque Genoese artist  Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-64)

It is entitled Castiglione: Lost Genius.

Few have heard of him

He is called il Grechetto

Castiglione's great technical inventiveness and  his pioneering use of materials allowed him to create some of the most brilliant drawings and prints of the seventeenth century

He pioneered the oil sketch and invented the monotype

He has been called one of the most original draftsmen of the Baroque

His star fell after his death

In his time he was called The Second Rembrandt.

He trained in  Genoa, the influence of Rubens and Van Dyck, who had both worked there earlier in the century (and whose work is still very much present there) is visible in his work

Here are some of his other works in London:


Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-64)
Preaching of Saint John the Baptist
Watercolour (red), oil (blue-grey) on paper
40 cm x 28.5 cm
The Courtauld Gallery, London



Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-64)
God the Father watching over the new born Child
Ink, wash on paper
29.5 cm (sheet) x  20.2 cm (sheet)
The Courtauld Gallery, London



Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-64)
Tobit burying the dead
Watercolour (brown), earth (red) on paper
39 cm x 51.6 cm
The Courtauld Gallery, London

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