CAVALLINO, Bernardo
(b. 1616, Napoli, d. ca. 1656, Napoli)

Esther and Ahasuerus

1645-50
Oil on canvas, 75 x 102 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Cavallino was an elegant painter of the second generation of the Neapolitan school in the seventeenth century. Almost everything he produced was for private collectors and, with only a few exceptions, his canvases were not very large. He studied under Massimo Stanzione and showed keen artistic intelligence in the way he interpreted the developments that took place in Naples and Rome after Caravaggio's death. Cavallino's lively and nervous brushwork was shot through by flickering light. In him, Caravaggio's naturalism blended together with an almost classical interest in pose and compositional structure. His gestures tended to be rather theatrical, his expressions inspired. He brought to his work a quality of dramatic movement that gave it an unmistakable, pathetic feel.