Italian Baroque Era Painter, ca.1616-1656
Italian painter and draughtsman. He was the most individual and most poetic painter active in Naples during the first half of the 17th century. He painted mainly small cabinet pictures, on canvas or on copper, for dealers and for highly cultivated private patrons; he had few public commissions and apparently never painted any large-scale decorations for private or ecclesiastical patrons. His subject-matter is largely derived from the Old and New Testaments, the Apocrypha, Tasso and from Roman history and mythology. Documentary evidence for his life and work is almost non-existent, and he remains enigmatic and elusive as a historical figure. Yet as a painter he is strikingly distinctive, uniting a refinement and virtuosity of brushwork with an intensely naturalistic observation of surfaces, and complex and dramatic compositions with an extraordinary brilliance of palette. Only eight pictures are signed, initialled or inscribed with Cavallino's name. No works are documented and only five may be tentatively identified with pictures in mid-18th-century Neapolitan collections described by Bernardo de Dominici.
Esther and Ahaseurus df
Oil on canvas, 75 x 102 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence