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Christ attended by Angels
Magnasco, Alessandro; Peruzzini, Antonio Francesco
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Magnasco, Alessandro
Genoa (Italy), 1667 - Genoa (Italy), 1749
Peruzzini, Antonio Francesco
Ancona (Italy), 1643 - Milan (Italy), 1724

Christ attended by Angels

Ca. 1705. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

Christ served by angels, c.1705, features a wealth of details, including numerous figures that blend into the woody setting by the riverside and a variety of contrasting effects caused by the play of light through its dense foliage. It has always been attributed to Alessandro Magnasco, and it was with that attribution that the Museo del Prado acquired it from Julius H. Weitzner in London in 1967. The painting had previously been in the Otto Kaufmann collection in Strasbourg, France.

The work is a collaboration between Magnasco and Peruzzini. Research into both painters revealed Magnasco’s hand in the nervous figures that constitute the painting’s central subject, in keeping with biblical tradition. The landscape in which the event is set, with its grandiose greenery, however, is by Peruzzini, as is the sky that appears through the branches. Conceptually the painting focuses almost entirely on the omnipresence of nature that overshadows the figures associated with this anecdote from Christ’s public life, long before his Passion and death. The scene’s amiable, insouciant tone -which eschews any possible drama and instead emphasises Christ’s serenity in the midst of the surrounding excitement- is Magnasco’s invention, different to the Bible story. Angels do far more than simply attend to the Son of God; they busy themselves with driving a band of gesticulating demons, which symbolise vice, away from the second member of the Holy Trinity.

The work’s harmonious compositional structure is typical of the painters’ regular collaborations, including works with similar intentions but different interpretative typologies, such as the nearly contemporaneous Temptations of Saint Anthony (New York University, Florence) from the first decade of the eighteenth century. These works share an intention to create a spectacular setting with a profusion of trees and bushes, a sort of grandiloquent architecture generated with the most luxuriant aspects of the landscape, deliberately contrasted with the group of small figures depicted at the bottom of the canvas.

Christ appears relaxed. Dressed in a reddish tunic and blue robes, he sits elegantly on a group of rocks that resembles a stone throne. Behind him a half-hidden grotto with a barred gate emphasises his impassive presence, while other figures hurry to present him with food and the water one of them draws from the stream in the foreground. This painting has been exhibited in Bordeaux (1956), Madrid (1969) and Ancona (1997), and is of high quality. It is one of the most attractive and freely created works by both artists; in it Magnasco tames his sometimes disjointed expression and Peruzzini provides a setting that is simultaneously solemn and sumptuous. The harmony achieved by the artists makes the work especially successful (Luna, J. J.: Italian Masterpieces. From Spain´s Royal Court, Museo del Prado, 2014, p. 258).

Technical data

Inventory number
Magnasco, Alessandro; Peruzzini, Antonio Francesco
Christ attended by Angels
Ca. 1705
Height: 193 cm; Width: 142 cm
Acquisition from The Hallsborough Gallery, London, 1967.

Bibliography +

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Exposición de las principales adquisiciones del Museo del Prado, Archivo español de arte y arqueología, 41, 1968, pp. 312.

Gaya Nuño, J.A., Novedades en el Museo del Prado, Diario de Barcelona, 1968/09/14, pp. 17.

Pérez Sánchez, A.E., Diez años de adquisiciones para el Museo del Prado, Goya: Revista de Arte, 90, 1969, pp. 367.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Principales adquisiciones de los últimos diez años: 1958-1968, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1969.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Urrea Fernández, Jesús, La pintura italiana del siglo XVIII en España, Secretariado de Publicaciones de la Universidad, Valladolid, 1977.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 386.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Madrid, 1994, pp. 330.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, III, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996.

Gregori, Mina, Antonio Francesco Peruzzini, Electa, Milán, 1997.

Luna, Juan J. y Úbeda de los Cobos, Andrés, Pintura europea del siglo XVIII : guía, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1997, pp. 90 y ss..

Luna, J.J, Alessandro Magnasco, Antonio Francesco Peruzzini 'Christ served by angels' En:, Italian masterpieces from Spain's royal court, Museo del Prado, National Gallery of Victoria Thames & Hudson, 2014, pp. 258.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1899.
Autor: Magnasco / 1899. Asunto: Cristo servido por ángeles / Lienzo: 1,93 X 1,42 / Número del Catálogo: 3124 / Adquirido en Londres a Mr. Julius H. Weitzer por el Patronato en Junio de 1967 en 2.846.375 Pts. [Por error del amanuense se incluye la nota siguiente:''Legado Marqués de Fontana 1966 véase pag.. 177'' (SIC)]

Exhibitions +

Italian Masterpieces from Spain's Royal Court. Museo Nacional del Prado
16.05.2014 - 31.08.2014

Antonio Francesco Peruzzini
26.07.1997 - 09.11.1997

Update date: 09-04-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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