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Giulio Carpioni

(1613 Venice? – 1679 Vicenza)

The Israelites Gathering Manna. Pen and brown ink over graphite and red chalk, reddish-brown wash. 22.8 x 17.5 cm.

The painter and etcher, Giulio Carpioni, studied under Alessandro Varotari in Venice and was later influenced in his artistic development by Simone Cantarini and Pietro Testa. In 1638 he settled in Vicenza, where he carried out numerous commissions for altarpieces and decorative paintings in churches, the local Palazzo della Ragione and the homes of local patricians. In addition he was a talented and prolific etcher, whose oeuvre comprises mostly religious and mythological subjects treated in a light and spirited manner.

The present depiction of The Israelites Gathering Manna is a typical example of the artist’s accurate drawing technique. Every­thing in this little sheet points to his consummate mastery. Carpioni has dashed off the multi-figured, complex composition with apparently effortless ease. The precise, resolute penwork, which convincingly portrays the figures with just a few strokes, shows him to be an experienced draughtsman and printmaker. Moreover, the effectively applied washes give the sheet a great vividness and create a striking, painterly chiaroscuro effect.

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