Vittore Giuseppe Ghislandi, called Fra' Galgario (Bergamo 1655-1743)
Portrait of a boy, bust-length, in a blue coat and hat oil on canvas 55.7 x 42.4cm (21 15/16 x 16 11/16in).
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Venice Private Collection, Milan (acquired in 1952) Thence by descent to the present owner
LITERATURE: A. Riccoboni, Pittura veneta: prima mostra d'arte antica delle raccolte private veneziane, exh. cat. (Venice, 1947), cat. no. 64, p. 37, ill. M. C. Gozzoli, Vittore Ghislandi detto Fra' Galgario (Bergamo, 1981), cat. no. 239, p. 135, ill. no. 6, p. 191 (as whereabouts unknown)
The present painting, first published in 1947, is datable to the period when Ghislandi became independent from the examples of Sebastiano Bombelli and, besides the official commissions, started to depict portraits of pupils who assisted him in his workshop in the convent in Galgario. In his catalogue entry, Riccoboni pointed out how the portrait painter, who, when working for the Bergamo aristocracy had to adapt to the often quite provincial taste of his patrons, could on these less formal occasions express a simpler and more direct approach, in which his sympathy towards the sitter was evident. When portraying members of the humbler sectors of society, Ghislandi captured his models in a natural, realistic and subdued manner. Here, as in other comparable works, the artist focuses his attention on the sitter, who looks out with a penetrating gaze and is painted with a narrow range of colour, broken only by the red of his tunic and cap.