Italian Paintings for Sale

Carlo Francesco Nuvolone

(Milan 1609 - Milan 1662)

The Annunciation

Oil on panel
46 x 33.5 cm.

Private Collection, Italy


Private Collection, Italy

The prolific artist Carlo Francesco Nuvolone was born in Milan into an Italian family of painters.  He first studied with his father, Panfilo Nuvolone, a late Mannerist painter from Cremona who painted many religious frescoes and altarpieces in a late Mannerist style as well as a number of original still- ... ifes.  However, the influences of early 17th century Milanese painters are of more significance to his development as an artist than the lessons learned from his father.  He would quickly become a more powerful artist than his father and was recognized as the leading painter in Lombardy in the mid-17th century, producing frescoes, altarpieces, devotional works and portraits.

After the early training with his father, Carlo Francesco studied at the Accademia Ambrosian in Milan, where he was a pupil of Giovanni Battista Crespi, called “il Cerano”.  In Cerano’s studio he met Daniele Crespi and Giulio Cesare Procaccini, who would both influence the development of his unique style. His first signed and dated work, the Miracle of St. Martha (1636, Venegono Inferiore, Seminario Arcivescovile), was much influenced by Morazzone and Giulio Cesare Procaccini, and shows his response to the newer artistic developments in Milan.  In these earlier works Nuvolone shows his awareness of the latest developments in Milanese art.  The soft, atmospheric quality of his works shows the influence of his contacts with Crespi, Francesco Cairo, and Giulio Cesare Procaccini.  He was especially indebted to Procaccini for the sensitive modulation of light and shade and for the sweetness he gave to the facial expressions of his figures. 


The exquisite enamel-like quality of this panel and its excellent state of preservation mark this work as a magnificent addition to the catalogue of Carlo Franceco Nuvalone’s early production.  It can be seen as belonging to the youthful phase of the artist’s work.  The present work shows his focus on the new Lombard taste for beauty and grace.  The influence of Giulio Cesare Procaccini, the true heir of Correggio in Milan is clear. This marks a period in which work by Daniele Crespi, Nuvolone and the next generation of Lombard painters show their mastery. The softness of the flesh of his figures, the beautiful coloring, and the emotional and sentimental expression of the subjects are remarkable elements of his work.  Here the timid recoil of the Virgin contrasted to the forceful approach of the angel of the annunciation lend the work great vitality as well as a graceful beauty.


This panel, a work of the artist’s full maturity, was painted sometime after his altarpiece of Santa Marta and the Dragon (Pinacoteca Malaspina, Pavia), which was the first painting by Nuvolone that can be attributed to a certain date - 1636.


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