Self-proclaimed genius Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione is a name largely forgotten in the annals of history. However, one museum is renewing interest in the master through a comprehensive exhibition of over 90 drawings, etchings, paintings, and monotypes from the Royal Collection.
Although Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609–1664) worked during the same time as Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), the level of professional success he achieved paled in comparison to the Dutch draftsman. “Castiglione: Lost Genius” is currently showing at the Denver Art Museum and explores the Italian’s troubled private life and how it prevented him from becoming better known.

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, “The Nativity with Angels,” late 1640s, monotype, 247 x 373 mm.
(c) Royal Collection Trust 2015

Despite his relative lowly status as an artist, Castiglione was able to produce an impressive body of work throughout his career, which entered into the Royal Collection in 1762. In addition to being a talented painter and etcher, scholars suggest Castiglione likely invented the monotype, a printing process that involves covering a plate with ink before wiping away the image in a reductive process. Per the museum, “This print method allowed Castiglione to make a print from one-off designs, allowing him to combine the brio and dash of his draftsmanship with his interest in printmaking.”
“Castiglione: Lost Genius” opened on August 9 and will be on view through November 8.
To learn more, visit the Denver Art Museum.  
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

Previous articleScottish Enlightenment
Next articleBig Name in Big Sky
Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here