The Tame Magpie

Alessandro Magnasco Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 643

Magnasco’s exuberant technique and fantastical subject matter set him apart from his contemporaries. Among picturesque ruins, people from the fringes of society gather to watch the spectacle of a man trying to teach a magpie to sing—an impossible task. This highly theatrical painting was probably executed while Magnasco was working for the Medici family in Florence, a time when he shared preferences in palette and technique with the artist Sebastiano Ricci. Though this is a finished painting, the light touch was inspired by an appreciation of a sketch-like aesthetic in the circles of both artists and collectors.

The Tame Magpie, Alessandro Magnasco (Italian, Genoa 1667–1749 Genoa), Oil on canvas

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