BRANDI, Giacinto
(b. 1621, Poli, d. 1691, Roma)

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane

c. 1650
Oil on canvas, 99 x 75 cm
Pinacoteca, Vatican

Today he is considered a minor painter, but in his time Brandi was regarded as a master, certainly on the level of such artists as Pier Francesco Mola, Giro Ferri, and Carlo Maratta. In 1650 he emerged as the direct heir of Giovanni Lanfranco, with whom he had studied. Brandi gained a reputation as an artist who was able to bring together the classicist style with baroque figurative inventions and above all the light of Caravaggio, something he was aware of through the paintings of Mattia Preti. In fact, Brandi's style is marked by the potent effect of colours amid shadows, colour that in some cases was all too strong.

The Christ in the Garden is characterized by an atmosphere of great intimacy. The pyramidal grouping of Christ comforted by two angels emerges as it were from a dense bank of clouds, which appear indeed to be invading the scene from the left. This type of dynamism coming out of the background is a typical baroque expression.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 14 minutes):
Ludwig van Beethoven: Christ on the Mount of Olives, op. 85, Introduction and Jesus' aria