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Elia e l'Angelo

Titles

Date of Creation

Category

Artistic Movement

Technique

1660 circa

Painting

Arte Barocca

Oil on canvas

Condition

Signature

good

-

Circulation

Free

Catalogue Raisonné

Price

Expertise

€ 110,000.00

Description

The painting depicts the apparition of an angel to the prophet Elijah, a scene taken from the First Book of Kings. Thanks to the miracle of this divine vision, Elijah found comfort from the persecutions he had suffered under the reign of Ahab. The stern prophet is represented here according to tradition, with a turban of Middle Eastern inspiration on his head and a fur mantle over a rough garment tightly wrapped around his waist.

The scene, set in a shaded landscape, features a lush central tree that divides the composition into two halves. In one half, the angel stands, comforting the prophet, while in the other, Elijah convinces himself to resume nourishment.

Stylistically, the work exhibits the typical qualities of Bolognese painting following the style of Guido Reni, as evident in both the physiognomy of the characters and the chromatic tones of the painting. In particular, the characteristics and style of the Bolognese painter Elisabetta Sirani are identifiable, likely assisted by her father Giovanni Andrea, a faithful interpreter of the master Guido Reni.

The broad brushstrokes and fluid impasto observed in this Elijah and the Angel are typical of the Bolognese "virtuosa del pennello," while the calculated chiaroscuro and the devoutly Renian physiognomies are more reminiscent of the expressive qualities of the father.

In his 1678 work "Felsina Pittrice," historian Carlo Cesare Malvasia mentions this painting as the work of Giovanni Andrea commissioned by Cardinal Falconieri. He recounts how the painting was first shown to Guercino, who, with prudent reservation, refrained from praising it. Later, it was presented to Cantarini, who often strongly criticized Sirani. He dared to mark corrections with chalk on the painting, particularly focusing on the angel's hand indicating the long journey to the prophet, and subsequently made a different drawing of it.

Provenance

Commissionato dal Cardinal Lelio Falconieri, all'epoca Legato apostolico della città
di Bologna (Novembre 1643 - Settembre 1648). Collezione privata

Exibithion

Literature

La scuola di Guido Reni. A cura di E. Negro - M. Pirondini. Modena, 1992, pag. 370
Emilio Negro. Intorno a Guercino. In: "Guercino: Giuseppe e la Moglia di Putifarre"
il capolavoro ritrovato di Guercino per Francesco I d'Este - pp. 57, 63. A cura di
Nicholas Turner e Federica Gasparrini. Artioli Editore, Modena - 2013

Additional information

Expertise of Nicosetta Roio and confirmed by Adelina Modesti

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