Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-1664)

God the Father regarding the Infant Christ 

Rome, 1645-7

Etching

Plate: 260 x 200 mm, mount: 557 x 406 mm

Castiglione represents the Holy Family as natural human figures. A plump infant Christ sleeps peacefully, watched by the Virgin Mary and an unusually tangible and human God. Catistiglione was greatly influenced by Rembrandt’s chiaroscuro etchings of the 1630s. He uses the contrast of light and dark and swirling hatched lines to create depth and volume. The divine light shining on the family and the dark shadowy classical ruins, a symbol of fragility and decay, create a mysterious atmosphere that at once celebrates the infant Christ and predicts his future sacrifice.

Purchased 1991 (No. 91.3)

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