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Calvaert, Denys

Antwerp, h.1540 - Bologna, 1619

Flemish painter and draftsman, he was for long active in Italy. In 1556-1557, he is recorded in Antwerp as the pupil of the landscape painter Kerstiaen van Queboom (1515-1578). He arrived in Bologna in c. 1560, where he was to remain for the remainder of his career, except for a period in Rome in 1572-1575. On his arrival in Bologna, he entered the workshop of Prospero Fontana (1512-1597), leaving some two years later in order to work with Lorenzo Sabatini (c. 1530-1576), with whom he collaborated on, among other works, the Holy Family with the Archangel St. Michael (Bologna, S. Giacomo Maggiore). Calvaert's earliest signed and dated painting is the Vigilance (1568; Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale). In 1572 Pope Gregory XIII summoned Sabatini to Rome; Calvaert accompanied him and remained there for three years, helping Sabatini with his painting in the Sala Regia. In Rome, Calvaert made paintings and numerous drawings, in particular studies after works by Michelangelo (1475-1564), Raphael (1483-1520) and Sebastiano del Piombo (1485/86-1547). Following his return to Bologna in 1575, Calvaert established a school of painting; among his students were Guido Reni (1575-1642) and Domenichino (1581-1641), both of whom subsequently switched allegiance to the rival Carracci-run Accademia degli Incamminati when it opened in 1582. Calvaert's second Bolognese period is characterized by such works as the Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine (1590; Rome, Pinacoteca Capitolina). In this and other paintings, he sought to revive the style of Corregio (c. 1489-1534). The late sixteenth century in Bologna was a period of great religious fervor, thanks to the city's enthusiastic embracing of the Counter Reformation, and Calvaert was the recipient of numerous ecclesiastical commissions. Although Calvaert quickly absorbed the language of Late Italian Mannerism, a certain residue of his Northern heritage seems always to be present in his work, a glimmer of the style also practiced by such artists as Bartholomeus Spranger (1546-1611), and Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617), among others (Turner, N.: From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci. A century of Italian drawings from the Prado, Art Services International-Museo Nacional del Prado, 2008, p. 136).

Artworks (4)

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