Carlo Cignani

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Carlo Cignani
Carlo Cignani - Auto-retrato.jpg
Born (1628-05-15)15 May 1628
Died 8 September 1719(1719-09-08) (aged 91)
Nationality Italian
Known for Painting
Movement Baroque
Carlo Cignani, Joseph and Potiphar's Wife, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, 1680

Carlo Cignani (15 May 1628 – 8 September 1719) was an Italian painter of the Bolognese and of the Forlivese school, active in the Baroque period.

He was born to a family of noble ancestry, but limited resources, in Bologna. His father's first name was Pompeo, and his mother, Maddalena Quaini.[1]

Full of baroque pathetism Saint Augustine in collection of the National Museum in Warsaw

In Bologna, he studied first under Battista Cairo[2] and later under Francesco Albani, to whom he remained closely allied, and was his most famous disciple. His first noted commission was a St Paul exorcising demon for the church of the Gesu in Bologna. For a hall dedicated to the Farnese in the Palazzo Publico, he painted with Taruffi, depicting the Francis, king of France, curing Scrofula on his entry to Bologna and the Entry of Paul III Farnese to Bologna'.[3]

He was, however, also strongly influenced by the genius of Correggio, and by the masterworks by Melozzo da Forlì. For instance, his masterpiece, the Assumption of the Virgin, around the cupola of the church of the Madonna del Fuoco at Forlì, is inspired by the Correggio's frescoes in the cupola of the Cathedral of Parma and by the Melozzo's perspective from down to up. These frescoes occupied Cignani for some twenty years.

In 1681, Cignani returned to Bologna from Parma. He opened an accademia del nudo for painting from models and had as one of his pupils Giuseppe Maria Crespi.

He had some of the defects of his masters: his elaborate finish and his audacious artificiality in the use of color and in composition mark Albani's influence. Despite that, he imparted to his work more of an intellectual character than his mentors. As a man Cignani was eminently amiable, unassuming and generous.

He accepted no honors offered him by the duke of Parma, but lived and died an artist. In 1686 he moved to Forlì, where he died. When the Accademia Clementina for Bolognese artists was founded in 1706, Cignani was posthumously elected Principe in absencia for life. His most famous pictures, in addition to the Assumption already cited, are the Entry of Paul III into Bologna; the Francis I Touching for Kings Evil; a Power of Love, painted under a fine ceiling by Agostino Carracci, on the walls of a room in the ducal palace at Parma; an Adam and Eve (at The Hague); and two of Joseph and Potiphars Wife (at Dresden and Copenhagen).

His son Felice Cignani (1660–1724) and nephew Paolo Cignani (1709–1764) were also painters. His most noted pupils were Marcantonio Franceschini and Federico Bencovich. Other pupils include Giacomo Boni, Andrea and Francesco Bondi; Giovanni Girolamo Bonesi; Girolamo Domini; Pietro Donzelli; Francesco Galli; Bonaventura Lamberti; Matteo Zamboni; Camilla Lauteri; Stefano Maria Legnani; Charles Lucy (1692 - after 1767), Francesco Mancini; Paolo Antonio Paderna.,[4] and Sante Vandi.[5]

Anthology of works[edit]



  1. ^ Zanelli, page 3-4.
  2. ^ Possibly, Giovanni Battista Cairo, father of Francesco Cairo.
  3. ^ Zanelli, page 9.
  4. ^ *Hobbes, James R. (1849). Picture collector's manual adapted to the professional man, and the amateur. T&W Boone, 29 Bond Street; Digitized by Googlebooks. pp. 51–52. 
  5. ^ Dizionario degli architetti, scultori, pittori, intagliatori d'ogni By Stefano Ticozzi, page 449, 1832