Giovanni Domenico Molinari (1721 - 1793)

Female figure lying down

Oil on canvas, cm 46 x. 31 

With frame, cm 56 x 42

Giovanni Domenico Molinari (Caresana, 1721 - Turin, 1793)

Giovanni Domenico Molinari (Caresana, 1721 - Turin, 1793)

Female figure lying down

Oil on canvas, cm 46 x. 31 - With frame, cm 56 x 42

The present painting is connected by style and treated subject, in this case a young girl lying in an idyllic landscape, to the production of small pictures of pastoral subject of the Piedmontese painter Giovanni Domenico Molinari (Caresana, 1721 - Turin, 1793).

Molinare was born in Caresana (Vercelli) on 19 July 1721 but after losing both his parents he moved to Turin. Here he became, from 1736, a pupil of the Academy of Drawing founded by the painter Claudio Francesco Beaumont (Turin, 4 July 1694 - Turin, 21 June 1766) where he remained as a pensioner until December 1755. Molinari was immediately engaged in the translation of the master’s sketches on cardboard used for the Regia manufacture of tapestries. His early success on the Turin art scene is confirmed by the fact that he joined the Compagnia di San Luca in 1756.

In 1751 he married Margherita Peiroleri, whose brothers Pietro (engraver) and Nicolò (painter) also attended the school. Remained widower count two other marriages first with Lucrezia Elisabetta Burzio and then in 1770 with Domenica Maria Ferrero. 

On the death of the master in 1766 Molinari, considered by his contemporaries to be the most faithful interpreter of the master and for his elegant and Arcadian style, which clearly interprets the aesthetic taste of the court, was called to finish the works that remained unfinished, such as the altarpiece for the church of Santa Maria della Scala in Moncalieri depicting the Assumption venerated by Blessed Bernard of Baden and Saint Anthony. Molinari was also well praised by critics and Abbot Lanzi highlighted the quality of the production of historical and mythological subject for the rigorous post-marattesco classicism.

In Turin he worked for Vittorio Amedeo III of Savoy as a portrait painter, executing for him eleven canvases (between 1774 and 1775), but, since 1745, he also supplied tapestry cartoons to the local Fabbrica, of which, in 1766, he became director. 

The production of paintings of sacred subjects is also lively, especially used in the decoration of the churches of the capital as the Assumption for the Hotel of Virtue and San Pietro Regalado and San Benedetto il Moro for Santa Maria degli Angeli ( Torino) He also painted tempera and oil cartoons for the same church, on the occasion of the beatification of Pacifico da San Severino (1787) and, for that of San Francesco di Paola, when Gaspare de Bono and Nicola de Longobardi (1786) were raised to the altars. He also received commissions for sacred buildings in the Savoy province, such as Vercelli, Caresana and Caraglio.

In 1778 he was appointed professor of history and portraits of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. Molinari continued the activity of tapestry and obtained commissions on the occasion of the reorganization of the rooms of the second floor of the Royal Palace for the wedding between Vittorio Emanuele, Duke of Aosta, and Maria Teresa of Habsburg Este (1789). He was well known among his contemporaries as a portrait painter, although the absence of precise checks on the painter’s activity and the numerous exchanges and omissions in the inventories of the House of Savoy make it difficult to find the works.

The colors used here, bright but cold with a predilection for blue and pink tones with bright yellow notes, can be found in many other works of the master as in the 'Apparizio della Madonna della Neve in Santa Maria della Neve in Mondelli or the Madonna del Carmine with SS Sebastiano and Battista San Giovanni Battista in Rivara. Above all, the pastoral episodes passed on the Antiques Market are those more strictly comparable to the present as well as the Sant'Agata of the Luigi Mallé Museum in Dronero. Close to his style are also some works by master Beaumont such as the putti musicians of the Private Collection or the Allegory of Painting, Musée des Beaux-Arts in Brest.

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