Offered by Ars Antiqua
Old Master Painting
Angelo Maria Crivelli, known as Crivellone (active in Milan between 1690 and 1730)
Turkey, two hens and a rooster around a basket of flowers
Oil on canvas, 113 x 147 cm
Already in a private collection in the city of Ospedaletti, this exceptional canvas by Crivelli was published in Fernando Arisi, Crivellone and Crivellino (Edizioni Tip.Le.Co, Piacenza, 2004, p. 130, where, however, the animals are defined as "turkey and three hens”, and p. 206). The lively materiality typical of the artist, a figural signature overwhelmingly evident in the present painting, animates a lively scene of living nature placed in a bucolic context. In the background some flat and paratactic leaves introduce the muffled and fresh dimension of the corner of the clearing, in which the fowls move about on the earthy and humid soil. A conscientious floral composition, a virtuous artistic quirk, recalls the crests and wattles of animals in a colorful way, in which the same white brushstrokes that illuminate the lenticular feathers are reflected. Chilestrine clouds whirl rapidly in the sky, marking the leftward movement of the largest hen and the rooster.
It was the Bolognese biographer Orlandi (1719) who for the first time attributed the Milanese birthplace to Crivelli, later called Crivellone to distinguish him from his son Giovanni, while Zani (1821) reported his death around 1730. 'artist active between 1662 and 1730; his sudden specialization in the nature of life with hunting scenes and birds reflects the strong suggestion coming from the Flemish Hondecoeter, Weenix, Snyders and Fyt, also marked in other Po Valley genericists such as Boselli. The formal handbook of Crivellone, rich in glazes and tremulous lacquers, solidly thickened to scientifically specify the real data, raised the artist to the best animalier of eighteenth-century Italian painting. His repeated presence at the Savoy court and the Lombard nobility suggested his coeval, envied appreciation, praised by how many patrons had the intention of adorning their homes with paintings with a remarkable scenic effect. Examples of the artist's work are the paintings kept in the Milanese civic collections already in the Attendolo Bolognini, Guasconi and Tarii collections, assiduous collectors of the Crivellone like the Casati and Visconti di Saliceto, the Ala Ponzone from Cremona and the Carrara from Bergamo.
It is possible to compare the present painting, for stylistic and subject affinities, with Rooster and hen with chicks, now kept in a private collection in Bologna, Rooster, hen and chicks (Turin, formerly Galleria Caretto) as well as with the similar floral bouquet in Flowers among pheasants and starne (Cividale, private collection); again, the same rooster with moving legs can be seen in the Rooster with hens and chicks of the Castle of Santena and a similar turkey recurs in the Poultry and rabbits of the Stupinigi hunting lodge.
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