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Diana (1616-17) oil on canvas cm. 225x320 | Domenico Zampieri called Domenichino

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Guide to the Galleria Borghese
K. H. Fiore
Paperback, 16,5x23 cm, pp. 128, 141 col. ill.
€ 14,00

The volume introduces Cardinal Scipione Borghese's outstanding collection of art. The works exhibited in this fine 17th-century building include paintings and sculptures from the 15th to 18th century (Raphael, Correggio and Caravaggio), sculptures (Bernini), bas-reliefs and mosaics.
In his Diana Domenichino revived antique themes and the depiction of nymphs. The subject derives from Virgil's Aeneid (V,485) where warriors are described competing in an archery contest and shooting a tree with their first arrow, a ribbon with their second and a falling bird with their third.
It was probably Mons. Giovanni Battista Agucchi, major theorist and adviser on iconography at the time, who suggested transposing the subject matter into the realm of the nymphs led by Diana. The archery theme was adopted as a metaphor for shrewd arguments that hit the mark, which was topical at the time, as the dedication of the Dicerie Sacre by the poet Giovan Battista Marino to Pope Paul V indicates. In capturing nature in clear compositions that predominate over the use of colour, Domenichino nonetheless adopts venetian tones now and then in the flowing draperies, and there are extraordinary passages from green to yellow, white to blue, and various shades of purple.
But what opens up a new chapter in the rendering of atmosphere are his gradual and calculated changes in tone towards the pale blue mountains by using increasingly subtle glazings, which indicate a new interest in Leonardo's theories in aerial perspective (studied and taught by the Teatine monk Matteo Zaccolini, who taught Domenichino perspective in the 1620s).
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