The italian school
The museum’s 170 Italian paintings are mainly from a period that starts in the High Renaissance and extends to the 18th century. The 16th and 18th century Venetian paintings, the 17th century works from Lombardy and the 18th century Neapolitan paintings are the highlights of the collection. Thanks to their independent tastes, the Magnins succeeded in bringing rare painters into French museums: Zalone da Cento, Claudio Ridolfi, Jacopo Bertoja and Giovanni Battista Crosato.
Venetian 16th century painting is represented by several high quality works: Cariani’s Christ and the Adulterous Woman and Portrait of a Musician playing the lira da braccio, which contrasts a dynamic colour range with the fluidity of the Post-Giorgoni “Tonalism”, the Tintoretto-esque Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem with its bold colours and a Noli me tangere with a dramatic sky by Ippolito Scarsellino. Florentine Mannerism is spectacularly represented with Susanna and the Elders by Allori, which combines references to Northern European painting and to Michelangelo, and a Virgin and Child by Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, another follower of Bronzino.
The 17th century collection is unusual and, with the exception of Genoa, all the principal schools are represented: Lombardy, with a Mannerist Visitation by Cerano, work by Recchi and a dramatic Baroque Pietà by Danedi di Montalto; Venice, with Ridolfi, Strozzi (a very theatrical portrait) and Carpioni with an elegaic Death of Leander; Tuscany, with Dolci’s almost porcelain-like portrait of Saint Charles Borromée, work by Riposo and Volterrano; Bologna, with a Holy Family at Rest in refined colours by Zalone; Rome with Cozza, Venusti, Baglione and a Moses and the Daughters of Jethro, with touches of Atticism by Romanelli; Parma, with a strange Infant Christ Sleeping by Schedoni; Naples with Luca Giordano.
The Settecento is distinguished by the very typical Neapolitan paintings by Traversi, del Po (Triumph of Silenus with its fantasy references), Rossi, and above all the Venetian paintings attributed to Ricci (a Baroque Lucretia), Tiepolo, Crosato at his best, Pellegrini and his delicate pastels and Zais, a skilful painter of battles.