Donducci, George Andrew

, a Bolognese artist, born in 1575, was called II Mastelletta, from his father’s trade, that of a pail-maker; and seems to have been born a painter. He was a pupil of the Caracci, but did not attend to their suggestions on the necessity of acquiring a competent foundation for drawing, and contrived to catch the eye by a more compendious method; surrounding a splendid centre by impenetrable darkness, which absorbed every trace of outline. It is probable that his success greatly contributed to encourage that set of painters distinguished by the name of Tenebrosi, shade-hunters, so numerous afterwards in the Venetian and Lombard schools. Donducci was distinguished, though not by correctness, by a great spirit of design, a sufficient imitation of Parmigiano, whom he exclusively admired, and a certain native facility which enabled him to colour the largest dimensions of canvas in a little time. He failed in his attempts at changing this manner, as he grew older and more impatient of the praise bestowed on an open style. Light, no longer supported by obscurity, served only to expose his weakness and the two miracles of S. Domenico, in the church of that saint, which had been considered as his master-pieces, became by alteration the meanest of his works. The same diversity of manner is observable in his smaller pictures; those of the first, such as the Miracle of | the Manna, in the Spada palace, are as highly valuable as his landscapes, which in many galleries would be taken for works of the Caracci, were they not discriminated by that original shade that stamps the genuine style of Mastelletta. The time of his death is not ascertained. 1


Pilkington, edit. 1810.