A Family of Shepherds

Object Details

Title:

A Family of Shepherds

Artist/Maker(s):

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (Italian, 1609 - 1664)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

late 1640s

Medium:

Brush and colored oil paint, over traces of black chalk

Dimensions:

35.2 x 48.7 cm (13 7/8 x 19 3/16 in.)

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In making this drawing, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione may have originally intended to illustrate a Biblical scene, such as the flight of Mary and Joseph to Egypt. Instead he produced an entirely new type of pastoral subject: a young mother seated on the ground nursing her children. She is noticeably at home amidst the animals and the surrounding landscape. A classically posed male figure, presumably the father, casually leans on his horse, looking toward his family. The lazy-looking dog to the left of the composition is a stock figure that appears in some of the artist's other drawings. Castiglione conceived of this unusually large drawing as an independent work of art, and employed his characteristic, vigorous brushstrokes to convey a sense of vitality.

Exhibitions
Work and Play: Everyday Life in Drawings; 1520 - 1820 (July 31 to October 14, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 31 to October 14, 2001, (Cat.)
Visions of Grandeur: Drawing in the Baroque Age (June 1 to September 12, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 1 to September 12, 2004, (Cat.)
Ten Years of Drawings: What, How, and Why (January 29 to May 4, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), January 29 to May 4, 2008, (Cat.)