Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (baptized 23 March 1609[1] – 5 May 1664) was an Italian Baroque painter, printmaker and draftsman, of the Genoese school. He is best known now for his etchings, and as the inventor of the printmaking technique of monotyping. He was known as Il Grechetto in Italy and in France as Le Benédette.

Giovanni Benedetto CASTIGLIONE1609-1664 Portrait of an old man with a turban on his head.1645-1650 ca. Condition Etching of 189x135 mm. In the lower right: Castiglione. Glued to the corners on cardboard. Nice specimen. Issue of the end of XVIII century – beginning of the XIX century. Italian painter and engraver among the greatest exponents of the Baroque school of Genoa. The Ligurian origin and training brought Castiglione to know Flemish painting, in particular thanks to the study of artists such as Jaan Roos and Van Dyck, he will develop a warm chromatism and vibrate. He also had a decisive role in the development of the engraving technique, in fact he is considered the inventor of the monotype. The most expensive themes that he will develop both in painting and in engravings are biblical or mythological themes and often the scenes are crowded with animals.

An Architectural Capriccio with a Bacchanalian Procession by Filippo Gagliardi and Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione

Castiglione was born in Genoa. The biographer of Genoese painters, Raffaele Soprani says his parents had him places in the studio of Giovanni Battista Paggi. Wittkower describes him as a "passionate student" of Anthony van Dyck, who arrived in 1621, and Peter Paul Rubens, who stayed in the city in the first decade of the 17th century and whose paintings were readily accessible there. He may have trained under the Genoese Bernardo Strozzi. He lived in Rome from 1634 to about 1645, then returned to Genoa. He also traveled to Florence and Naples. He was back in Rome in 1647, before moving in 1651 to be a court artist in Mantua for Duke Carlo II and his wife Isabella Chiara de Austria. He died in Mantua.

He had various brushes with the law in his lifetime. The Queen's Gallery in London, where an exhibition of his work was held in 2013, made the following statement: "Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione was also a violent and impetuous man, who was repeatedly in court for assault, allegedly attempted to throw his sister off a roof and was forced to leave Rome, probably after committing murder. The turbulence that characterised his life overshadowed his artistic brilliance, and Castiglione struggled to achieve recognition in his lifetime. Much of what is known about the artist is derived not from fulfilled commissions, but from court documents."