Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

A Congress of Animals

Giovanni Francesco Castiglione (Italian, Genoa 1641–1710 Genoa)
Pen and brown ink, brush and watercolor, over traces of black chalk
8 1/8 x 12 1/8in. (20.7 x 30.8cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1908
Accession Number:
Not on view
The graphic oeuvre of the elusive Francesco Castiglione, son and assistant of Giovanni Benedetto (1609-1664), can be based largely on the name annotated at the bottom of the sheet by a late-eighteenth-century collector known as the "Reliable Venetian Hand" for the accuracy of his attributions (see Percy 1971, nos. 120, 121; Bean 1979, nos. 113, 114). As a painter, Francesco imitated his father but used a lighter, more saturated palette of colors. As a draftsman, the son preferred a fine pen outline with zigzag strokes for shading and the delicate translucency of watercolor to the father's bold use of the brush and dense application of oil paint on paper. The subject matter of Francesco's two drawings in the Museum’s collection reflects the lasting influence of Dutch and Flemish animal paintings, drawings, and prints in Liguria. The position of the lion in the grouping of animals and birds in the Museum’s "Young Hunter" (inv. 08.227.24) and in the "Congress of Animals" (inv. 08.227.25) may allude to its role as the king of the beasts, based on Aesop's fables.
Inscription: Annotated in pen and brown ink at lower border, Francesco Castiglione in graphite at lower border of old mount, B. West's.
Anonymous Italian Collector ('Reliable Venetian Hand'); Benjamin West (American, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 1738–1820 London)- according to annotation on old mount; William Esdaile (British, 1758–1837 London); Sir James Knowles (British, Reigate 1831–1908 Brighton)(his sale); Knowles's estate sale, Christie's, London, May 28, 1908 (unidentified lot); Vendor: Through Roger Eliot Fry (British, Highgate, Middlesex 1866–1934 London)
Morgan Library & Museum, New York. "Drawings from New York Collections, II. The Seventeenth Century in Italy," February 23, 1967–April 22, 1967.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Genoa: Drawings and Prints, 1530-1800," April 23, 1996–July 10, 1996.

Roger Eliot Fry "Recent Acquisitions of Drawings." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 4, no. 1, New York, January 1909, p. 7.

Alessandro Bettagno Disegni di una collezione veneziana del Settecento Exh. cat., Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice. Venice, 1966, cat. no. 50, ill.

Jacob Bean, Felice Stampfle Drawings from New York Collections, Vol. II: The Seventeenth Century in Italy. Exh. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 1967, cat. no. 118, ill.

Ann Percy Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1971, cat. no. 121, fig. no. 121, pp. 129-130, ill.

Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 17th century Italian Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1979, cat. no. 114, fig. no. 114, p. 85, ill.

Carmen C. Bambach, Nadine Orenstein, William M. Griswold, Allegra Pesenti Genoa: Drawings and Prints, 1530-1800 Exh. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1996, cat. no. 27, p. 31.

David Klemm Die Sammlungen der Hamburger Kunsthalle Kupferstichkabinett, vol. 2, Italienische Zeichnungen, 1450-1800. Köln, Weimar, Vienna, 2009, cat. no. under cat. 146.

Linda Wolk-Simon, Carmen C. Bambach An Italian Journey. Drawings from the Tobey Collection: Correggio to Tiepolo. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (May 12 - August 15, 2010). New York, 2010, pp. 194-96, fig. 60.2 (entry by Linda Wolk-Simon), ill.

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