Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato and The Virgin in Prayer

'The Virgin in Prayer' (1640-50) by Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato;
National Gallery, London

I have already mentioned in my post on Velázquez last Monday that I've been to the wonderful Galleria Doria Pamphilj. There was a lot of Italian art and one of the paintings being displayed was 'The Virgin in Prayer' by Italian Baroque painter Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato, born on August 25, 1609, and died on August 8, 1685. This particular depiction of the Virgin holding hands in prayer is one of at least four paintings made by the artist. I couldn't find an image of the version I've seen in Rome on the internet other than the one that you will see when you click here. But there are letters on that image so I chose to post the version that's at the National Gallery in London. When you compare the two versions, you see that they are very similar. The Virgin in the London version has her eyes cast downward more than the Virgin in the Rome version. In real life the painting is very beautiful, very refined and with beautiful colours. There is so much art hanging on the walls of the galleria that it is a shame that so many great paintings don't have their own space. Some hang too high, some have terrible lighting. They deserve to be in a highlighted space to get the full attention and appreciation. Salvi specialised in religious works painted in a sweet style. There's little information on his life and in the 18th century it was even generally believed that he was a contemporary of Raphael. His work must have been in demand because many of his paintings carry different (and very similar) versions. They must have been in private hands though since not many are to be seen in churches or museums.

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