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Bernardo Cavallino was born in Naples in 1616 and died there in 1656, probably during an outbreak of the plague. Evidence of his training is scant; no reliable account of his character, friends or life survives. His works are widely scattered since he painted small, easily transported pictures rather than large paintings for churches.
He may have had a solid academic training in the studio of Massimo Stanzione. He also learned from the earthy naturalism of Ribera and from Rubens, Van Dyck and Carvaggio. Cavallino was a more delicate painter than most Neapolitan artists, but, like many Neapolitans, he had a flair for theater. Not until the end of his life did his pictures assume the sureness that is the mark of a master. He should not have died so young.
Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.
Mark Stevens in Newsweek, January 7, 1985.