NUVOLONE, Carlo Francesco
(b. 1609, Milano, d. ca. 1662, Milano)

The Artist and his Family

Oil on canvas transferred from panel, 126 x 180 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

In Lombardy the transition from Mannerism to the beginning of the 17th century was characterized by Giulio Cesare Procaccini, Giovanni Battista Crespi (called Cerano) and Morazzone. They were decorators of talent and were influenced by Emilian, Sienese and Roman trends. Close to their often violently expressive manner with contrasting colours was the Cremonese Carlo Francesco Nuvolone (or Nuvoloni).

In this painting Nuvolone has portrayed himself painting at an easel, surrounded by his family. His figure emerges discreetly from the luminous, silvery shadows. Around him the members of his household appear intent on their everyday activities: a quiet conversation, a harp exercise, a moment of melancholy introspection. In effect, the composition is a series of formal portraits, beginning with that of the artist. The figures seem proudly to display their costumes, which are rendered in refined colour harmonies of grays, whites, yellows, and blues.