Head of a Bishop, ca. 1770
Gaetano Gandolfi (Italian, 1734–1802)
Oil on canvas; 18 3/8 x 14 7/8 in. (46.7 x 37.8 cm)
Purchase, Charles and Jessie Price and Stephen Mazoh Gifts, 2010 (2010.117)
A brilliant painter and draftsman as well as a sculptor, Gaetano Gandolfi belonged to a family of artists in Bologna; his older brother Ubaldo was a painter and so was his son Mauro. In 1760, he spent a year in Venice, where he studied the paintings of Tiepolo and others. In addition to altarpieces, ceiling decorations, and canvases with mythological subjects, he painted small canvases with bust-length images of men and women of various walks of society. These were intended not as portraits but as character studies in which the artist explored a variety of attitudes and expressions. The Museum's painting shows a bishop. It dates to about 1770 and is notable for its virtuoso brushwork and freshness of execution, enhanced by its excellent state of preservation.