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A Baroque Original

Landscape with the Good Samaritan, by Mastelletta

Son of a Bolognese maker of vats (mastelli) Giovanni Andrea Danducci (1575–1655), was another product of the Carracci mill, but one who insisted on finding his own unique and intense way in art.

Inspired by Correggio and Nicolò dell’Abate, with a touch of Parmigianino in his sometimes vertically elongated figures, Mastelletta was a master of ethereal, electric landscapes that sometimes dominate even his religious paintings. These, even without landscape backgrounds, often suggest a mystic inner piety seldom seen in his contemporaries.

Mastelleta was a friend of another highly original painter, Pietro Faccini. Works of another artist, Giovanni Maria Tamburini, called the 'Pseudo Mastelleta', were often wrongly attributed to him. As reflected in his art, Mastelletta's biography suggests he did not at all fit in well with the art world of his day; towards the end of his life he is described as increasingly paranoid and reclusive.

Works in Bologna: Pinacoteca, San Domenico; Modena, Galleria Estense. Many of his best are in Rome and elsewhere.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: PD Art