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Alessandro Magnasco, Coastal View with the Calling of Saint Peter
Biblical - Historical - Mythologic
Material and technique
oil on canvas
92 x 129 cm
Alessandro Zuccari

Magnasco sets this episode from the Gospel on the lakeshore, amid imposing ancient ruins. The jagged rocks and almost grotesque appearance of the figures add dramatic impact to the powerful scene. Jesus, his right arm forcefully raised, calls to the Galilean fisherman, who stops what he is doing to hurry towards Christ. Next to Jesus, Andrew points to his brother Simon, who has his back to the viewer. On the left, several figures move busily around tall columns. The woman seated in the foreground beside a large torch-stand is probably an allegory of faith.
The painting, with its companion, is an important example of the mature work of the Genoese painter and is dated around 1740. Typical features include the ruins, symbolizing the end of the ancient world, and the striking gestures of the many figures. The elegant juxtaposition of colours and the contrast of light and shade that casts the various elements into relief evoke the work of the leading painters of capricci active in Italy at the time.  There are links between these two paintings and the four that Magnasco produced in collaboration with the quadraturista Clemente Spera, which are now divided between the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.

Coastal View  with the Calling of Saint Peter
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