Arcadian Shepherds

Object Details

Title:

Arcadian Shepherds

Artist/Maker(s):

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (Italian, 1609 - 1664)

Culture:

Italian (Genoese)

Place(s):

Italy (Place created)

Date:

about 1655

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

109.2 x 109.2 cm (43 x 43 in.)

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Two Arcadian shepherds with coarse features discover a tomb inscribed with the words Temporalis Aeternitas,alluding to the brevity or frailty of human life. The subject, one that Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione had borrowed from Poussin a decade earlier, was meant to remind viewers that time brings oblivion even to the highest achievements of humankind. An assortment of objects lying on the ground at the left–statues, musical instruments, a seashell, books, and armor–symbolize human accomplishments that have begun to crumble into ruin.

Set against a blue sky with purplish-gray clouds, Castiglione evoked the mystery of an ancient lost civilization. Colors are rich and powerful, with bright reds and blues and a strong red-brown ground.

Provenance
by 1799 - 1814

John Stuart, first marquess of Bute and fourth earl of Bute, 1744 - 1814 (Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire, England), by inheritance to John Crichton-Stuart, 1814.

1814 - 1822

John Crichton-Stuart, second marquess of Bute and seventh earl of Dumfries, K.T., 1793 - 1848 (Luton Hoo, Bedford, England) [sold, Bute sale, Christie's, London, June 7, 1822, lot 54, to Godfrey Bosville-Macdonald Macdonald.]

1822 - 1832

Godfrey Bosville Macdonald, third baron Macdonald of Slate, 1775 - 1832 (Thorpe Hall, Bridlington, Humberside, England), by inheritance to Alexander William Robert Bosville Macdonald, 1832.

1832 - 1847

Sir Alexander William Robert Bosville Macdonald, de jure twelfth Bart., 1800 - 1847 (Thorpe Hall, Bridlington, Humberside, England), by inheritance to his son, Godfrey Wentworth Bayard Bosville, 1847.

1847 - 1865

Sir Godfrey Wentworth Bayard Bosville, de jure thirteenth Bart., 1826 - 1865 (Thorpe Hall, Bridlington, Humberside, England), by inheritance to his son, Alexander Wentworth Macdonald Bosville Macdonald of the Isles, 1865.

1865 - 1933

Sir Alexander Wentworth Macdonald Bosville Macdonald of the Isles, fourteenth Bart., 1865 - 1933 (Thorpe Hall, Bridlington, Humberside, England), by inheritance to his son, Godfrey Middleton Bosville Macdonald of the Isles, 1933.

1933 - 1951

Sir Godfrey Middleton Bosville Macdonald of the Isles, fifteenth Bart., 1887 - 1951 (Thorpe Hall, Bridlington, Humberside, England), by inheritance to his son, Alexander Somerled Angus Bosville Macdonald of Sleat, 1951.

1951 - 1958

Sir Alexander Somerled Angus Bosville Macdonald of Sleat, sixteenth Bart., 1917 - 1958, by inheritance to his son, Ian Godfrey Bosville Macdonald of Sleat, 1958.

1958 - 1970

Sir Ian Godfrey Bosville Macdonald of Sleat, seventeenth Bart., born 1947 (Thorpe Hall, Bridlington, Humberside, England) [sold, Macdonald sale, Christie's, London, November 27, 1970, lot 101, to David Carritt, Ltd.]

1970 - 1972

David Carritt, Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1972.

Exhibitions
Baroque Masters from the J. Paul Getty Museum (February 26 to March 30, 1973) (Cat. 10)
  • California State University, Northridge, February 26 to March 30, 1973
Il Genio di Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, il Grechetto (January 27 to April 1, 1990) (Cat. 26)
  • Museo dell'Accademia Ligustica di Bella Arti, (Genoa), January 27 to April 1, 1990
Kunst in der Republik Genua, 1528-1815 (September 5 to November 8, 1992) (Cat. 62)
  • Schirn Kunsthalle (Frankfurt), September 5 to November 8, 1992
Bibliography

Christie's, London. A Catalogue of a Valuable Selection of about Two Hundred Italian, French, Flemish & Dutch Pictures, from the Very Noble and Extensive Collection of the Marquess of Bute, at Luton Park in Bedfordshire. June 7-8, 1822, p. 5, lot 54.

Artemis [...] (1970-1971), unpaginated, ill.

Christie, Manson & Woods, London. Fine Pictures by Old Masters. November 27, 1970, p. 73, lot 101, ill.

Calcagno, Paola Costa. "Gio Benedetto Castiglione, il Grechetto." In La pittura a Genova e in Liguria. Vol. 2, Dal Seicento al primo Novecento (Genoa: Sagep, 1971), p. 189.

Percy, Ann. Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Master Draughtsman of the Italian Baroque, exh. cat. (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1971), pp. 34, 41, 58n131, fig. 23.

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), p. 98, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 5th ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980), p. 72, ill.

Newcome, Mary. "Drawings by Castiglione." Paragone 32, no. 377 (July 1981), pp. 32, 36n5.

Standring, Timothy J. "Genium 10: Benedicti Castilionis Ianuen: The Paintings of Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-1663/65)." Ph.D. diss. 3 vols. (The University of Chicago, 1982), vol. 1, pp. 197-98; vol. 2, pp. 427-29, no. 82; vol. 3, pp. 654-55, fig. 100.

1987 Annual Report (Brussels: Groupe Bruxelles Lambert s.a., 1987), pp. 32, 61, ill.

Brigstocke, Hugh. Review of Il Genio di Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, il Grechetto. Genoa, Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti. The Burlington Magazine 132, no. 1047 (June 1990), pp. 429, 430.

Il Genio di Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, il Grechetto, exh. cat. (Genoa: Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti, with Sagep, 1990), pp. 97, 142-43, no. 26, figs. 114, 144, entry by Timothy Standring.

Newcome Schleier, Mary, et al. Kunst in der Republik Genua, 1528-1815, exh. cat. (Frankfurt: Schirn Kunsthalle, 1992), pp. 134-35, no. 62, pl. 64, entry by Mary Newcome Schleier.

Standring, Timothy J. "Castiglione." The Dictionary of Art. Jane Turner, ed. Vol. 6 (New York: Grove, 1996), p. 35.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 24, ill.

Tsai, Min-Ling. Giovanni Benedetto Castigliones biblico viaggio patriarcale: Genere minore oder istoria? Pastorale Motivik als Mittel zur Darstellung der Gattungsproblematik (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2010), pp. 184, 273, fig. 48.

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