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The 17th Century

The group of 17th-century paintings conserved in Palazzo Koch and other buildings of the Bank of Italy are of considerable interest, as they are representative of several artists and schools of the time. A youthful work of Claude Vignon provides an important example of Caravaggism, the first movement of European significance, which originated in Rome inspired by the artist’s work. As is apparent from the work of the French painter, Caravaggio’s revolutionary style attracted the attention of many artists from France working in the city. The Finding of Moses by Salvator Rosa instead offers a chance to admire the mature work of one of the great protagonists of 17th-century Italian art, a contemporary of the group of painters known as the Bamboccianti. These were genre painters who drew inspiration from Pieter van Laer, known as Il Bamboccio, reproducing similar scenes in their work. It was van Laer who brought to Italy the Flemish and Dutch tradition of depicting scenes of daily life, and the large following he acquired included the Roman painter Michelangelo Cerquozzi and the Dutch artist Jan Miel, whose works reflect his influence.
Acis and Galatea by Giuseppe Diamantini leads us to the revival of classicism, initiated by the Carracci brothers from Bologna, which dominated the second half of the 17th century.  The poetry and rhetoric of the Baroque style are instead embodied in a painting by Ciro Ferri, Pietro da Cortona’s most loyal pupil, and in the works of Vincenzo Malò and Antonio Zanchi. A comparison of these paintings highlights the multitude of pictorial languages that coexisted in various locations in Italy at the time.
The largest group of works owned by the Bank of Italy consists of landscapes. The two paintings by Jean Lemaire, who was close to the powerful Barberini family, show the influence of the paintings executed in Rome by Nicolas Poussin. The works by Viviano Codazzi introduce a new method of incorporating architectural views in real urban settings, one that differs from the French master’s archaeological reconstructions. Poussin’s style had a decisive influence also on the work of Gaspard Dughet and the other vedutisti of the classical school. These include Jean François Millet and Crescenzio Onofri, famous for their carefully constructed and balanced landscapes, which paved the way for the Arcadian vedute of the 18th century and found expression in the idyllic pastoral scenes of the German painter Philip Peter Roos, known as Rosa da Tivoli.
The two works by Johannes Lingelbach, clearly reflecting the genre painting of the Bamboccianti, are set in imaginary landscapes, but nonetheless credible and coherent. Similarly, the views painted by Alessandro Salucci show scenes of everyday life unfolding in a vast architectural setting with monuments of ancient and modern Rome.

Alessandro Zuccari