CASTIGLIONE, Giovanni Benedetto
(b. 1609, Genova, d. 1664, Mantova)
The Immaculate Conception with Sts Francis of Assisi and Anthony of Padua1649-50
Oil on canvas, 367 x 221 cm
Institute of Arts, Minneapolis
At the end of his career Castiglione produced ecstatic compositions of great intensity, reminiscent of Bernini's style of these years. One of the few documented paintings in Castiglione's career, the present Immaculate Conception was executed for the high altar of the new Capuchin church in Osimo, a small town in central Italy.
The artistic genius and professional success of the Genoese painter was often overshadowed by the artist's difficult and violent personality. He reportedly threw his sister off a rooftop, sent his brother to jail, and nearly murdered his nephew in a fistfight. Yet he produced religious pictures of stunning grandeur and inspiration.