Route: THE ETERNAL CHALLENGE. BERNINI VERSUS BORROMINI
Piazza Capo di Ferro, 13 www.galleriaspada.beniculturali.it Every…
You are along the route: THE AGE OF CONTRASTS. TRIUMPH AND HUMILTY
In the first three decades of the seventeenth century, a group of Dutch, Flemish and French artists gave birth to an artistic trend, the “Bamboccianti”. They adhered to a style of painting based on realism devoid of any rhetoric, preferring scenes from everyday life and populating their paintings with street vendors, morra players and humble shopkeepers. Inaugurating this genre was Pieter Van Laer, called “Il Bamboccio”, which means “ugly doll” or “puppet”. This was an allusion to van Laer’s ungainly proportions. The Assault on the forest in the Spada Gallery belongs to a series of small, octagonal canvases made around 1630, depicting a world of poverty, oppression and resignation and characters, often sketched, or just on the edge of caricature, placed in a hostile setting of ruins, caves, barns and bare trees.
Michelangelo Cerquozzi was a follower of Pieter van Laer, known as the “Bamboccio”. While adhering to the themes typical of the guild of the Bamboccianti, supporting popular painting alien to history and to the Church, Cerquozzi developed an independent style, often tackling sacred subjects and scenes of battles (hence his nickname of “Michelangelo of Battles”). The Revolt of Masaniello was commissioned by Virgilio Spada in 1648 and depicts an historic event that took place in Naples on July 7, 1647. Exasperated by the tax burden imposed by the Spanish Viceroy, the Neapolitans rose up in a revolt led by Masaniello, who is depicted in the centre of the composition. The architecture surrounding the Market Square, the scene of the riot, was painted by Viviano Codazzi, one of Cerquozzi’s assistants.