Allegory of Astronomy

GIOVAN BATTISTA BENIGNI

GIOVAN BATTISTA BENIGNI
(Lucca 1736 – Florence 1813)

Allegory of Astronomy
half of the 1780s
Tempera on canvas, 68.70 × 86.81 inch

It was made for the marquis Ginori and it comes, as the others, from the series that was at Villa La Zambra in Sesto Fiorentino (nowadays the Villa is a Police Station, Cf. A. Villoresi, Sesto Fiorentino notizie di storia, geografia, arte edited by L. Lici and S. Pollastri, Sesto Fiorentino, 1988, p. 128) and it can be ascribes, for stylistic evidences and for the typological definition of the figures, to Giovan Battista Benigni, painter mostly active in Florence and in its surroundings in last quarter of the 18th (for the life of the artist Cf. S. Bellesi, Catalogo dei pittori fiorentini del ‘600 e ‘700. Biografie e opere, 3 voll., Florence, 2009, I, pp. 77- 78 e figg. 68-69; con previous bibliography).
Born in Lucca in the 1736, Benigni-initially pupil in his home town of Giovan Domenico Lombardi and then in Rome of his fellow citizen Pompeo Batoni-worked more or less durably in Florence, where he appears recorded from the 1774, time when he obtained by the Grand Duke of Tuscany the authorization to copy some paintings preserved in the Uffizi Galleries ( Cf. M. Ingendaay, «I Migliori Pennelli» I marchesi Gerini mecenati e collezionisti nella Firenze barocca. Il palazzo e la galleria 1600-1825, 2 voll., Milan, 2013, I, p. 123 note 184). Mainly specialized in portrait paintings, as testified by some paintings made between 1777 and 1785 for the marquis Martelli and Gerini, the artist, erroneously reported as an abbot in the papers of the Academy of Drawings (Cf. Gli Accademici del Disegno. Elenco alfabetico, edited by L. Zangheri, Florence, 2000, p. 31), he married in the 1781 Anna Zocchi (M. Ingendaay, op. cit., I, p. 117), daughter of the artist Giuseppe, one of the most important Florentine painter of the “age of Enlightenment”.

Excerpt of the expertise by prof. Sandro Bellesi.

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