This is a rare work in Giaquinto's oeuvre for the artist has signed it with his initials.1
Apparently the artist considered his style distinctive and familiar enough (as it has again become in our time) usually to need no signature; I suspect he signed our new accession with pride, because of its extremely high quality. Another reason for a personal claim may be the souls in purgatory, more individually seen than usual in Giaquinto's work and possibly representing his intimates.I hope I need not rehearse the virtues of this pure painter (1703-1765), whose frescoes are among the better sights of Rome and Madrid, whose sketches are among the loveliest ever made, and whose warm, evocative poetry and cool, lucent colors delight modern taste. The Minneapolis picture is one of Giaquinto's most richly painted modelli
and, with the vast modello
in St. Louis and the tiny sketch at Vassar, his finest work in America. It is probably not a modello
(I have not seen the picture at Grugliasco near Turin, variously described as an altarpiece and a bozzetto
), but simply a domestic religious painting, a finely wrought devotional piece. The upper part rehashes the Trinity
in the ca.
1742 ceiling fresco of S. Giovanni Calibita, Rome, and must also relate in date to this mature work. The picture's fervor is also typical of Giaquinto's creation at the beginning of this his last decade in Rome. Unusually splendid in quality, the painting is furthermore a successful example of one of Giaquinto's uncommon somber subjects, subjects which this inspired lyricist luckily and most often could avoid, for he usually flubbed them.Endnotes
Referenced Work of Art
- 68.2 The Putnam Dana McMillan Fund. Oil on canvas, 39” x 29 1/2”. Bought in London, this painting is apparently not identical with the painting formerly with Vangelli, Rome (d'Orsi, fig. 54), which I suspect the photographs indicate to have been a studio copy. Small pictures by Giaquinto are notoriously frequent in repetition; the artist was almost as productive as popular (if not as much as the market still appears to indicate). The fine versions, certainly autograph and sometimes repeats, I find self-evident. No one, however, has made a sensible study of Corrado's frequency or dared to sort out the sheep from the goats.
- Corrado Giaquinto. Italian, ca. 1699-1765. The Holy Trinity and Souls in Purgatory, ca. 1742. Oil on canvas, 39” x 29 1/2”. The Putnam Dana McMillan Fund, 68.2.