Artibus et Historiae no. 26 (XIII)

1992, ISSN 0391-9064

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JAN K. OSTROWSKI - Raffaele Soprani's Le vite de' pittori, scoltori et architetti genovesi

Le vite de' pittori, scoltori et architetti genovesi... by Rafaele Soprani, first written inn 1647-57 but continually revised up until shortly before its posthumous publication in 1674, is the most important source of information on the history of Genoese art. The final version of the work contains 158 chapters and the biographies of 186 artists. These accounts are solidly documneted and in general reliable, giving very few inaccurate dates. Soprani writes knowledgeably about Gothic and Renaissance art, but strangely ignores the profound changes that occurred in Italian painting in the seventeenth century. One of his most interesting topics is the uncontrolled export of Genoese art treasures abroad, which he condemns.

The author's aim is to glorifythe artistic achievemnets of his republic, but he also emerges as a major defender of the art of painting in the struggle to win for it appropriate recognition and social status.

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