Castello, John Baptist

, an eminent artist, the companion of Luca Cambiaso, is commonly called il Bergamasco, in contradistinction of Gio. Bat. Castelli a Genoese, scholar of Cambiaso, and -the most celebrated miniature-painter of his time. This, born at Bergamo in 1500, and conducted to Genoa by Aurelio Buso of Crema, a scholar of Polidoro, was at his sudden departure left by him in that city. In this forlorn state, he found a Maecenas in the Pallavicini family, who assisted him, sent him to Rome, and received in him at his return an architect, sculptor, and painter not inferior to Cambiaso. At Rome, Palomino numbers him with the scholars of Michael Angelo. Whatever master he may have had, his technic principles were those of Luca; which is evident on comparison in the church of S. Matteo, where | they painted together. We discover the style of Raffaello verging already to practice, but not so mannered as that which prevailed at Rome under Gregory and Sixtus. We recognize in Cambiaso a greater genius and more elegance of design, in Castello more diligence, deeper knowledge, a better colour, a colour nearer allied to the Venetian than the Roman school. It may however be supposed^ that in such fraternal harmony each assisted the other, even in those places where they acted as competitors, where each claimed his work, and distinguished it by his name. Thus at the Nunziata di Portoria, Luca on the panneis represented the final doom of the blessed and the rejected in the last judgment; whilst G. Batista on the ceiling, expressed the judge in an angelic circle, receiving the elect. His attitude and semblance speak the celestial welcome with greater energy than the adjoined capitals of the words, “Venite Benedicti.” It is a picture studied in all its parts, of a vivacity, a composition, and expression, which give to the pannels of Luca, the air of a work done by a man half asleep. Frequently he painted alone; such are the S. Jerome surrounded by monks frightened at a lion, in S. Francesco di Castello, and the crowning of St, Sebastian after martyrdom, in his own church, a picture as rich in composition as studied in execution, and superior to all praise. That a man of such powers should have been so little known in Italy, rouses equal indignation and pity, unless we suppose that his numerous works in fresco at Genoa prevented him from painting for galleries.

This artist passed the last years of his life at Madrid, as painter to the court. After his death in 1570, or, as some say 1580, Luca Cambiaso was sent for to finish the larger historic subjects; but the ornamental parts and the grotesques interspersed with figures remained to his two sons^ Fabrizio and Granello, whom he had carried with him to Spain as his assistants. Palomino, and the writers on the Escurial, enumerate these works, with praise of their variety, singularity, and beauty of colour. 1

1 Pilkington.