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Title The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Attributed to Castiglione, Francesco (Italian painter, died 1716)
Attributed to Castiglione, Giovanni Benedetto (Italian painter, draftsman, and printmaker, 1609-1664)
Previously attributed to Leone, Andrea de (Italian painter, 1595-1675)
Date Earliest about 1640
Date Latest about 1660
Signed yes
Description Castiglione trained in Genoa but this painting is likely to be an early work of the 1630s painted in Rome where he worked from 1634. Castiglione tackled a wide range of subjects and was also a prolific draughtsman and engraver. He was much attracted to Flemish animal genre and here, the actual subject is relegated to the background while the foreground is crowded with a procession of shepherds and their animals. The rich, vibrant colouring also indicates his admiration for Poussin whose work he would have seen in Rome. This work has also been attributed to Andrea de Leone. Leone was very much influenced by Castiglione, and their work is often so close in manner as to be indistinguishable. The consensus is now that this is the work of Castiglione.
Current Accession Number 1958P12
Former Accession Number P.1258
Inscription front l (on flask) 'G.B.C.'; front lr (on rock) '10.nes BENEDo/CASTILIONUs'
Subject religion (Angel appearing to the Shepherds)
Measurements 107.3 x 160.8 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased from Agnew's 1958.
Provenance Purchased by Sir Henry Hawley, Genoa, 1840 [;]; Lord Rendel of Hatchlands; by descent to his grandson, H. S. Goodhart-Rendel, 1913; Goodhart-Rendel sale, Christie's, 7 March 1958, lot 3.
Principal Exhibitions Royal Academy, London, 1959, cat. no. 355; Primitives to Picasso, Royal Academy, London, 1962, cat. no. 58; Old Masters from the City of Birmingham, Wildenstein, London, 1970, cat. no. 14.
Publications Nicholson, B., 'New Rooms at Birmingham' (editorial), Burlington Magazine, vol. 100, 1958, p. 191; Sutton, C., Christie's Since the War, London, 1959, pp. 44, 131; 'h.a.', 'Birmingham: Aperte sei sale del City Museum and Art Gallery', Emporium, vol. 129, 1959, p. 135; Catalogue of Paintings in Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, 1960, p. 30; Waterhouse, E.K., Italian Baroque Painting, 1962, p. 216; Percy, A., Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione Master Draughtsman of the Italian Baroque, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1971, pp. 44-45 as Francisco Castiglione; Brunoeta, G., La Pittura a Genova e in Liguria, 1971, pp. 170 - 171; Salerno, L., Pittori di Paesaggio del Seicento a Roma, 1977, p. 85 as by Leone; Foreign Paintings in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, A Summary Catalogue, 1983, no. 88.
Notes L. Salerno reattributed this work to Leone in 1977-8. However, attribution to Castiglione has been confirmed by Dr T. Standring, Loyola University, Chicago, 1983 and Luc Maeckelbergh, 1994. Consensus is now that this is the work of Castiglione as it is bears a convincing signature. An oil sketch study for the dog and sheep, ascribed to Castiglione, is in possession of Luc Maeckelbergh. The Annunciation to the Shepherds formerly in the C. R. Rudolf Collection (sold Sotheby's 21 May 1963, lot 19) could be a peparatory drawing for the group in the background of this painting. The central group of a man on a horse is to be found in a drawing depicting the Journey of Jacob in the Albertina, Vienna [New York, Private Collection 1983;], and reversed in a drawing of two horsemen with De Vries, Amsterdam, in 1929. The figure who points upwards on the right hand side of this work is reversed in Castiglione's Noah, (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna).

It is possible that this painting was bought by Sir Joseph Hawley, the third baronet, in Genoa in 1840. In the Goodhart-Rendel sale catalogue several paintings formerly in the Hawley collection and bequeathed by Lord Rendel to the late H. S. Goodhart-Rendel in 1913 are said to have been acquired this way.

Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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