187
187
Giuseppe Maria Crespi
SILENUS
Estimate
80,000120,000
LOT SOLD. 85,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
187
Giuseppe Maria Crespi
SILENUS
Estimate
80,000120,000
LOT SOLD. 85,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Masters Day Sale

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London

Giuseppe Maria Crespi
BOLOGNA 1665 - 1747
SILENUS

Provenance

Dr Fritz Haussmann, Berlin, by 1935, until 1938;
Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, 1938 (included in their inventory of 1943/ 1944);
Seized from the above by the Red Army in 1945 and taken to Russia;
Returned to Gemäldegalerie, East Berlin, in 1958;
The Bode Museum, East Berlin, 1958;
Restituted to the heirs of Dr Fritz Haussmann in 2007 by the Stiftung Preußicher Kulturbesitz.

Exhibited

Bologna, Palazzo Communale, Mostra del Settecento bolognese, 1935 (lent by Dr Fritz Haussmann, Berlin).

Literature

G. Zucchini, Mostra del Settecento bolognese, exh. cat., Bologna 1935, p. 19, cat. no. 10, reproduced pl. XVIII;
R. Roli, Pittura Bolognese, 1650–1800, Dal Cignani al Gandolfi, Bologna 1977, reproduced fig. 168c;
M.P. Merriman, Giuseppe Maria Crespi, Milan 1980, p. 281 cat. no. 164, reproduced fig. 164.

Catalogue Note

Executed with the supreme confidence typical of the eccentric and highly personal style of the great Bolognese painter Giuseppe Maria Crespi, this depiction of Silenus balanced atop a donkey and flanked by fellow revellers is dated by Mira Pajes Merriman to the period of Crespi's early maturity, circa 1700.1 The artist's use of brilliant patches of concentrated light serves the graceful unification of this figure group; the twisting body of the trumpeter and the outstretched arms of Silenus characteristic of the delight Crespi took in the depiction of unusual poses and gestures.

Indeed, in the decade prior to the execution of this canvas, Crespi's mastery of the rendering of the nude figure won public applause when the three most prominent young artists in Bologna at the time, Antonio Burrini, Gian Gioseffo Dal Sole, and Crespi – in obvious competition with each other – exhibited small paintings representing episodes from the myth of Hercules. Giampietro Zanotti, a contemporary of Crespi and his biographer, recorded the public’s reaction to the exhibition as they stopped in front of Crespi’s painting crying 'oh quanto è valente lo Spagnuolo! Viva lo Spagnuolo' ('Oh what a genius Spagnuolo is! Long live Spagnuolo').2

Merriman notes that this Silenus is thought to post-date a second treatment of the subject by Crespi in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna.3 The Bologna Silenus is believed to be in an unfinished state and lacks the volume and finish of the present work.

1 Merriman 1980, p. 281.
2 G. Zanotti, Storia dell'Accademia Clementina di Bologna, Bologna 1739, vol. II, p. 41. The artist’s nickname 'Spagnuolo' probably refers to his behaviour and habits in general as much as to the Spanish cape which he habitually wore.
3 Merriman 1980, p. 281, cat. no. 163, reproduced fig. 163.

Old Masters Day Sale

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