(b. 1667, Genova, d. 1749, Genova)
Oil on canvas, 53,6 x 43,9 cm
Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent
Praying Monks by Alessandro Magnasco is a good example of the brilliant sketching technique of this Italian artist, who was a transitional figure between the Baroque and Rococo. The impassioned figures are rendered against a dark and threatening background with rapid, irregular brushstrokes. Isolated and ecstatic monks and hermits often feature in the macabre scenes through which Magnasco conveyed his fantastic and critical vision of humanity. The emotional turbulence of his work was not unique in the Italian Baroque and Rococo, but it was certainly something of an extreme example.