Guido Cagnacci (1601–1663) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, whose works are characterized by the use of chiaroscuro and by the sensuality displayed by most of the subjects.
He shared the anxieties of the Seventeenth Century Baroque without renouncing to the dialectic between soul and body, between spirituality and physicality. Famous for the bold sensuality of his female nudes, icons of a pictorial universe imbued with an eloquent eroticism, yet also by an unshakable and lucid sense of real that evokes sentiments, passions, tragedies and violence, the artist was also unbeatable in depicting scene of great religious stories.
Guido Cagnacci has partaken in the artistic scene of the Seventeenth Century, interpreting a role of primary importance.
Before settling in Forlì he lived in Rome where he had the opportunity to meet the Guercino, Guido Reni and Simon Vouet. Cagnacci is assumed to have been an apprentice at the now elderly Ludovico Carracci in Bologna. He then moved to Venice under the name of Guico Baldo Canlassi from Bologna, and he dedicated himself to the intense production of paintings known as “salon paintings” where is prevalent the theme of the female nude, works that have consecrated the artist’s fame. In fact, the staunch occupation with these subjects led him to solutions of extraordinary ease and elegance, attracting, during his time, the favors of a wealth of rich and uninhibited commissioners, and that continue to fascinate nowadays for the provocative and subtle malice flowing through them, for the delicate skin, the languid poses, the cold, liquid lights that evoke voyeuristic atmospheres.
A colorful personality, some of his contemporaries thought him eccentric, “unreliable and of doubtful morality”. He was said to have accompanied himself with a young female model that dressed in man's clothing, possibly to avoid censure. He died in Vienna in 1663.
Guido Cagnacci is not so well-known outside the small circle of curators, collectors and connoisseurs. Nevertheless, he is a major artist, and the fact that three different and important venues in New York City are hosting exhibits of three of his masterpieces is a cause for celebration. Dying Cleopatra is the painting on view at the Italian Cultural Institute; the Norton Simon Museum has exceptionally loaned to the Frick Collection Cagnacci’s Repentant Magdalene where is on view from October 25, 2016 to January 22, 2017, and at the Metropolitan Museum, from December 12, 2016, visitors can admire another version of Cagnacci’s Dying Cleopatra.
On view from December 3, to January 19, 2017 - Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm.
The exhibit will be open on Saturday December 3, and 10.
Opening: Friday December 2, 2016 6pm - Business attire, RSVP required.