Antonio Tempesta (Florence 1555 - Rome 1630)
Battle scene with castle in the background
Oil on canvas
81 x 130 cm
Framed 99 x 130
Expertise of Prof. Giancarlo Sestieri
This is a magnificent painting - the pendant of which is available (link) - depicting a concussive war scene, to be attributed to the activity of Antonio Tempesta (Florence 1555 - Rome 1630), a leading artist and of fundamental importance for the 17th-century development of the pictorial genre of 'battle'.
He moulded his art in the culture of late 16th century Mannerism, acquired from his early training in Florence in the workshop of the Flemish Giovanni Stradano, with whom he collaborated in the decorative enterprise of Palazzo Vecchio.
Active mainly in Rome from 1572, he worked for Pope Gregory XIII in the decorations in the Vatican Loggias, and for many of the most noble and influential families, such as the Farnese, Borghese, Giustiniani and Rospigliosi-Pallavicinie.
In fact, starting in 1613, he produced a series of engravings of 'biblical battles' inspired by Tasso's 'Gerusalemme liberata' for Grand Duke Cosimo II, subjects that brought him great success in the Medici household and the Florentine Court, and served as inspiration for his later pictorial production.
Looking now in detail at our beautiful battle, the scene is in keeping with his usual taste for exposition, we see a siege already in progress by a battery of cannons in full action in the background; from the left is a group of lancers hoisting their poles, led by a leader from behind on horseback with a plumed helmet, who emerges in the foreground and is preceded by a trumpeter, while a group of infantrymen with a drummer and a knight in detailed armour and helmet, seen from behind on his white rampant horse, is also heading to the left.
By way of comparison, we can mention the two splendid 'biblical battles', with which we find the greatest compositional similarities with the reuse of the same scenes in our canvases, commissioned by Cardinal Carlo de' Medici, later in the possession of Grand Duke Ferdinand in the year 1633, and now in the Uffizi Museum https://www.battaglia.anghiari.it/terre-uffizi-civilta-armi-corti-rinascimento-antonio-tempesta.html....
Other works are held in Rome at the Galleria Borghese and Galleria Doria Pamphilj, in Turin at the Galleria Sabauda and in Paris at the Louvre Museum.
Like the two works in the Uffizi, in our painting of great scenic impact, the narrated event takes the form of a complex tangle of horses and horsemen, where the postures of the soldiers in armour and the strength that emerges from their agitated movement recall Tempesta's purest Mannerist culture. We see the balanced layout, well balanced in the juxtaposition of first and second planes, the emergence of groups of figures as an introduction to the scene, an analytical descriptivism of the clothing, poles hoisted as if forming a thick barrier, the besieged city in the background.
Delevery information :
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Should you have the desire to see this or other works in person, we would be happy to welcome you to our gallery in Riva del Garda, Viale Giuseppe Canella 18, we are always open by appointment only.
19 500 €