Castiglione, John Benedict

, called Grechktto, an admired artist, was born at Genoa, in 161h, and in that city was at Hrst a disciple of Battisca Pagi, and afterwards studied in the academy of Joan Andrea de Ferrara; but his principal improvement was derived from the instructions of Vandyck, who at that time came to reside in Genoa. He formed to himself a very grand manner of design in every branch of his art, and succeeded equally well in all; in sacred and profane history, landscape, cattle, and portrait; executing every one of them with an equal degree of truth, freedom, and spirit. But, although his genius was so universal, his predominant turn was to rural scenes and pastoral subjects, markets, and animals, in which he had no superior. He had great readiness of invention, a bold and noble tint of colouring, and abundance of nature in all his compositions. His drawing is elegant, and generally correct, his touch judicious, and his pencil free and firm. And still to add to his accomplishments, he had a thorough knowledge of the chiaroscuro, which he very happily applied through all his works. In a chapel of St. Luke’s church at Genoa, is an excellent picture by this master. The composition and design are good, the heads of the figures extremely fine, the draperies well chosen and judiciously cast, the animals lively and correct; and the manner through the whole is grand, and yet delicate; though it must be observed, that the colouring is a little too red. In the Palazzo Brignole* is a grand composition, the figures being eighteen or twenty inches high, which is admirably finished, though perhaps a little too dark. And at the Palazzo Caregha, in the same city, is an historical picture of Rachel concealing the Teraphim from Luba*i, in which the figures and animals are exceedingly fine.

He painted a considerable time at Rome, Naples, Florence, Parma, and Venice, in which cities, although he left very striking instances of his skill, his fortune was not equal to his reputation. He found liberal patrons, | however, in the Venetian senator Sacredo, and in the duke of Mantua, in whose service he lived and died in 1670.

The etchings of this celebrated artist, which are numerous, are spirited, free, and full of taste; and their effect is, in general, powerful and pleasing. Among his most estimable plates, Strutt reckons the following, all from his own compositions viz. “Animals coming to the ark” “Laban searching for his gods in the tent of Jacob;” “The angel appearing to Joseph in a dream” “The nativity of our Saviour;” “The flight into Egypt;” “The resurrection of Lazarus;” “Diogenes with his lanthorn;” “A magician with several animals;” “The little melancholy;” “A ruin with a vase, and two men, one of them pointing to a tomb” two “Rural subjects, with fawns and satyrs;” and two “Sets of heads.

His son, Francesco Castiglione, was the disciple of his father, and was born at Genoa. He inherited in a very considerable degree the talents of his father, and imitated his style and manner exactly in composition, handling, and design. Many pictures ascribed to Benedetto, and occurring in sales and collections, are thought to be copies after him by his son Francesco, or perhaps originals of the younger Castiglione. 1

1 Argenville, vol. II, Burges’s Lives of the Painters. Pilkington. --—Strutt.