90.17 cm x 73.66 cm (35 1/2 in. x 29 in.)
Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini
(Venice, Italy, 1675 - 1741, Venice, Italy)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
Pellegrini represents 18th-century Venetian painting at its most exuberant. He was initially trained in Milan with the idiosyncratic Paolo Pagani, but his style is really an exaggeration of the sensuous and decorative aspects of Sebastiano Ricci. In Pellegrini’s works, the drawing is broad and soft, the palette is fiery and luminous, and the paint itself is dense and fluid. Defying gravity, bordering on the caricatural, this painterly virtuosity was a tremendous success across Europe, with Pellegrini called to execute significant fresco cycles and numerous canvases in England, France, and Germany.
Bellona is a typically glorious if basically hollow exercise in this purest kind of painting. Already freed from Ricci’s more differentiated handling, but not yet fully dissolved in its drawing and atmospheric in its color, the picture probably dates from the time of Pellegrini’s collaboration with Antonio Bellucci, a Venetian of comparable inclination but lesser brilliance, on a decorative ensemble for the Schloss Bensberg, near Cologne.
This is one of three major paintings by Pellegrini in the Collection.