Paintings, oil on canvas measuring 68 x 92 cm without frame and 88 x 112 cm with frame depicting the allegory of the liberal arts with painting, sculpture and music with Minerva and her shield watching over a group of putti from a side and with geometry, geography and mathematics with Apollo and his scepter to watch over a group of putti and a cornucopia full of gifts from the other, of the painter Giandomenico Cignaroli (Verona 1722 - 1793).
The paintings in question are among those depictions that ensured Italian and even European notoriety at Cignaroli in the courts of Northern Italy such as Milan, Crema, Brescia and Mantua and abroad such as Dresden and Vienna where the painter carried out numerous studies of characters and characteristic cherubs that they thrilled the public both for their sentimentality and for their pictorial ability. Thanks to the delicate coloring and the sensitive observational skills, the painter describes the human passions in these portraits.
The composition is very versatile and cleverly calibrated in the colors especially in those continuous contrasts between the very light and the slightly darker parts, where the extraordinary versatility of the artist is evident both thanks to a classical education due to the study of the great masters through copying plaster models and prints, and thanks to an unbridled passion for music that made everything faster, more colorful and more ethereal.
The subjects of the canvas are divinities represented in an amiable, simple and free way that control the putti devoted to the liberal arts with a dreamy air, being protected and characterized by their attributes, precious because of a memory or an anecdote, dispersing one's mind into an almost Arcadian world and in any case very far from reality where we immediately perceive the overflowing personality of Cignaroli, given the strong coloristic impact on the canvas through a clear preference for design where both the richness of the details and a very methodical and rational disposition of each individual emerge character or object; these two paintings show us how the painter made his own the typical luminosity of those great Venetian artists whose he had the opportunity to know in Italy in Venice in the 50s and 60s of the eighteenth century.
These compositions, probably painted in the 80s and 90s of the eighteenth century having been made in the mature age of the painter's artistic career, that is when Giandomenico was able to carefully dose all the good things he knew on his various Grand Tours in the courts most important in Europe, they are of very fine quality. These are paintings in which the painter pours the scenographic ability of mythological paintings to construct the wise orchestration of the two blocks of the scene, separated by the landscape view that opens up the space on the bottom; the light and harmonized color range on the reds is highlighted by the light that, as a beam, strikes the first floor from the left. The naturalistic reminiscences, mediated by the local Caravaggio, of the Veronese period are thus diluted, and the classicism so insisted in mythological works seems to yield to a more sweet and domestic monumentality.
Giandomenico Cignaroli elaborates a very personal painting in which the plastic and graphic values take on great importance. His fame is linked above all to the numerous paintings of mythological themes, of which the paintings presented here are one of the most representative examples, “the tendency towards post-Caravaggio naturalism and evasion in a classical and mythological world are harmonized.
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