National Museums of Genoa - Palazzo Spinola verified

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closed Cornelis de Wael, Alessandro Magnasco, Maestro di Resina

The show

Two important acquisitions will be presented in the exhibition: this is the canvas by Cornelis de Wael (Antwerp, 1592 - Rome, 1667) depicting Feeding the Hungry and the Martyrdom of St. Erasmus by Alessandro Magnasco (Genoa, 1667-1749), executed in collaboration with the “ruinista” Clemente Spera.  

The two new paintings make it possible to document both the important activity in the port center of the Anversano master and the extraordinary figurative experience of Magnasco within the museum visit. These increases therefore give a voice to artists who, not represented in the historical picture gallery of the fur home donated in 1958 by the marquises Franco and Paolo Spinola, have played a leading role in the Genoese figurative scene, and not only, of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. century.

In particular, with regard to the Flemish artist's work, thanks to the results of recent researches, it is possible to count on some fixed points about the provenance: the painting was perhaps purchased by Sir Henry Bankes (1711-1774) on the occasion of a trip to the Flanders completed in 1754. During the nineteenth century it came into the collections of Belton House (Lincolshire), from where it was removed in 1984.

Critics have proposed to recognize in this representation part of a series of Examples of Capuchin virtue made by Cornelis during his activity in Genoa, probably during the 1840s.

The Franciscan religious are the protagonists together with the poor and the wayfarers of this charitable representation, a scene perhaps set near the entrance of the Capuchin convent of Voltaggio (Alessandria) and characterized by an energetic physiognomic rendering and a never banal gesture.

The Martyrdom of St. Erasmus , a perfect synthesis between Lombard realism and the pictorial elegance typical of the Genoese figurative culture, instead offers the opportunity to discover the very personal stylistic figure of Magnasco, at the same time visionary and ingenious.

The subject, devoid of devotional connotations, was described by the artist with absolute accuracy, using a calibrated chromatic palette illuminated by dynamic touches of white, blue and yellow. The saint, lying on a table and deprived of his clothes, piled on the ground together with his pastoral, is surrounded by torturers, intent on rolling up his intestines. Erasmus, careless of the priest busy showing him a pagan idol to adore, extends his arms towards the sky, where two angels have appeared carrying the palm of martyrdom.

These works will be accompanied by the canvas with the Washing of the Feet attributed to the Master of Resin, the first acquisition destined in 1958 for the new National Gallery of Liguria. The painter, author of the altarpiece with the Flight into Egypt preserved in the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione in Herculaneum (Resina until 1969), uses a pictorial language of Caravaggesque origin, evident in the setting of the scene, in the accurate gestural rendering, in the modulated and effective chiaroscuro, in the physiognomic rendering of the faces of the apostles. The conservative intervention just completed will allow you to rediscover its beauty, being able to fully appreciate the indisputable executive quality.

Works on display

Timetable and tickets


Piazza Pellicceria, 1
16123 Genoa


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