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Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione - Italian Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609 - 1664)

Born in Genoa, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione first trained there under local artist who were influenced by Mannerism, Caravaggism, and the work of Peter Paul Rubens. In 1621, Castiglione started working in Anthony van Dyck’s studio. In his early work, he favored animal paintings but also produced portraits, landscapes, and historical pieces. Castiglione moved to Rome in 1634 and remained there for a decade. He returned to Genoa and began working for the Mantuan court alongside his idol Rubens in 1648. During this period, Castiglione was inspired by Domenico Fetti and Rembrandt’s etchings. He is also credited with the printmaking technique, the monotype. Castiglione’s final works were expressive and intense much like the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. He is best known now for his elaborate engravings, and as the inventor of the printmaking technique of monotyping. He was known as Il Grechetto in Italy and in France as Le Benédette. He was a brilliant draftsman and pioneered the development of the oil sketch (often using a mixture of mediums) as a finished work - previously they had been used only for working studies for another finished piece, for example by Rubens. He returned to the same subjects over and over again, but with significantly different compositions each time. His most popular and influential prints were a series of exotic heads, mostly of vaguely Oriental males, but also of women and in a few cases of animals. These were produced in great numbers.

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