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MICHELANGELO CERQUOZZI (1602-1660)

'Camp Scene', oil on canvas, 73.2 x 123 cm

Michelangelo Cerquozzi ( b Rome , 12 Feb. 1602 ; d Rome , 6 Apr. 1660 ) was an Italian Baroque painter , known as ‘Michelangelo of the Battles’ because of his predilection for scenes of combat. He spent all his career in Rome, where he had considerable contact with northern painters; his friendship with the Dutchman Pieter van Laer led to his becoming the leading Italian exponent of bambocciate (small pictures of low-life and peasant scenes).

Giovan Battista Passeri and Filippo Baldinucci, Cerquozzi’s first biographers, described him as a painter of still lifes, battle scenes, and Bambocciades. He received his first training as a still life painter in the circle of Agostino Verrocchi (to whom the present painting used to attributed). Among the artist’s Roman friends were such artists as Pietro da Cortona, Domenico Viola, and Giacinto Brandi, but also foreigners like Paulus Bor and Cornelis Bloemaert. Cerquozzi felt particularly drawn to the Spaniards living in Rome, which might have something to do with the fact that in his youth his talent had been fostered by the majordomo of the Spanish embassy. He frequently received commissions from personalities associated with the pro-Spanish party in Rome. Cerquozzi was one of the most important painters active in Rome at the time.

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