A Congress of Animals

Giovanni Francesco Castiglione Italian

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.

A Congress of Animals, Giovanni Francesco Castiglione (Italian, Genoa 1641–1710 Genoa), Pen and brown ink, brush and watercolor, over traces of black chalk

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