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.
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