Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione

The Animals Going towards Noah's Ark

c. 1650-1655
Bartsch XXI, 10, no. 1 Celebrated for his lush, verdant landscape settings and his gift for depicting fauna in tales of biblical patriarchs and mythological heros, Castiglione was the leading Genoese artist of his generation. The loose, flowing line of his etching needle, the sense of atmosphere and his tendency for contrasting passages of light and shade reveal the influence of Rembrandt and the Dutch chiaroscuro tradition. This etching masterfully establishes visual interest as the crowded forms of wildlife emerge from the crepuscular gloom of dense forest and make their way toward the distant ark. Imaginative and carefully rendered landscape details abound: the animals are surrounded by overhanging branches, leafy ground plants and long grasses - an earthly paradise of plenty that will soon be washed away. Obscured in the shadows or only schematically present on the horizon, the human presence of Noah and his family become secondary as the animals themselves impart a sense of divine purpose.
The Animals Going towards Noah's Ark
c. 1650-1655
etching on ivory laid paper
20.5 x 40.7 cm
Credit line
Gift of Philip R.L. Somerville, Toronto, 2010
Accession number

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