Artwork of the Month - December 2014
Hermits in a Landscape
Artist: Antonio Francesco Peruzzini (1667-1724) and Alessandro Magnasco (1667-1749) (Attr. to)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Status: Permanent collection
Previously this painting had been attributed solely to Magnasco. However it is likely that the painting is a collaboration between Magnasco and Peruzzini. The Italian art historian Orlandi (1660-1727) had remarked that Magnasco was more at home depicting 'picciole figure' (small figures).
By the end of the century Magnasco had established himself as a specialist working for artists such as Peruzzini and Clemente Spera (1661-1730), adding his 'picciole figure' to their landscapes. These collaborations proved highly successful, with Magnasco and Peruzzini providing joint works for the court of Ferdinando dei Medici in Tuscany.
In this painting Magnasco places three monastic Hermits against Peruzzini's dark, atmospheric setting. The animal bones seen in the foreground symbolise the Hermits' meditation upon the transience of life and the cross represents their belief in eternal life after death.