Attributed to Giovanni Ghisolfi (Milano 1623-1683)
Inventory Number 7997-77
Price Available Upon Request
One with a view of a Mediterranean port with horsemen, bandits and other miscreants amongst classical ruins, the other also with view of a Mediterranean port, a ruined temple and a statue of Hercules; 'Orientals' and other figures with an encampment beyond.
Canvas: 47.5" x 76.75"
Framed: 57" x 87"
G. Sestieri, "Capriccio Architettonico in Italia nel XVLL e XVIII secolo", 2015, p. 172, figs. 76a & 76b.
"Born about 1623 in Milan, Ghisolfi learned perspectival painting from his uncle, Paolo Antonio Volpini, and then settled in Rome in 1650 in order to study the ruins of the ancient city. There, in the mid-1650s, he was in close contact with Salvator Rosa, both personally and artistically, as is evident from a letter of Rosa to his friend Ricciardi. Ghisolfi was an excellent painter of architecture and specialized entirely in the depiction of ancient ruins, and in this field he was in his own time considered to be unequalled. At first he was unfamiliar with the art of enlivening his landscapes with characteristic staffage figures and was indebted to Rosa for his instruction in this technique and, at times, for his friendly collaboration. Ghisolfi's chief talent lay in a pleasing arrangement of ruin coulisses, cleverly suggestive of depth, and founded upon the most exact familiarity with the laws of architecture and perspective. A certain dry sobriety pervades his handling of paint. Now and again, however, there is evidence of an attempt at sunnier and more atmospheric effects, and in this respect Ghisolfi seems to anticipate his far greater follower, Giovanni Panini. In his later years Ghisolfi suffered from declining eyesight and, after a long period of wandering (he was active in Naples, Venice, and Genoa, as well as in Rome), he returned to Milan, where he died in 1683."
– Hermann Voss, from Baroque Painting in Rome (1925), revised and translated by Thomas Pelzel (San Francisco: Alan Wofsy, 1997)
Though Milanese, Ghisolfi spent most of his career in Rome and Piacenza, working as a painter and decorator. From his arrival in Rome he became a friend and close associate of Salvator Rosa. Rosa collaborated with Ghisolfi on numerous occasions during this period commencing in 1654 when Ghisolfi designed the backdrops to some stage sets in which Rosa painted the figures. In 1661 he returned to Lombardy and worked at the Certosa di Pavia. In the following years he established a reputation for landscape paintings with architecture and ancient ruins.