Artibus et Historiae no. 65 (XXXIII)

2012, ISSN 0391-9064

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GIANNI PAPI - The Enigma of Angelo Caroselli

On the basis of analyses of archival sources and the recently re-emerged documents, the author of the present paper discusses the career and artistic personality of Angelo Caroselli, one of the most mysterious and interesting artists active in the seventeenth century in Rome and Naples, whose work, unfortunately, has so far not received adequate recognition. The paper defines the scope of interest in the early career of Pietro Paolini, while ascribing to Caroselli the Mary and Martha from the Galleria Pallavicini in Rome. In Saint John the Baptist from the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples (a copy of a work painted by Caravaggio for Ottavio Costa, now in Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City) the author finds a possible confirmation of Caroselli’s activity as a copyist of Caravaggio’s paintings. Furthermore, the paper presents new and fascinating examples of his work as a copyist – bordering on forgery – which constituted a characteristic feature of an area of the painter’s occupations, as documented by his biographers: Passeri and Baldinucci. Then, the paper examines stylistic relationship between Caroselli and Bartolomeo Cavarozzi, ascribing to the former some works that are close also to the style of the latter, a painter from Viterbo, e.g. the Portrait of a Man from Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, or the Holy Family with St Francis from the collection of the bank of Naples, Banca Intesa San Paolo, the latter painting most likely belonging to the Neapolitan period (1616–1623). Apparently, from the same years date also some other works, e.g. the Temptation of St Anthony at the Galleria Silvano Lodi & Due in Milan, the Penitent Saint Mary Magdalene from a private collection and St Sebastian Nursed by Irene from the Koelliker collection. Finally, the author ascribes to Caroselli the last important work, so far, despite its important location rarely considered in connection with this painter, namely The Dream of Saint Romuald at the Palazzo Reale in Naples.

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