Giovanni Battista Pittoni II
(1687 - 1767)
Giovanni Battista Pittoni II was active/lived in Italy. Giovanni Pittoni II is known for figure, religious painting.
Pittoni, born in 1687, received his training as a painter in the workshop of his uncle, Francesco Pittoni, and initially fell under the spell of the Veronese painter Antonio Balestra, but his mature style owed decisive impulses from Sebastiano Ricci and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. He was a much respected painter in Venice whose numerous commissions included work for major churches and private patrons, both in the city of the Lagoons and on the Venetian Terraferma. Later in his life, he was co-founder of the Venetian Accademia di Belle Arti, serving as its president for a number of years. Pittoni died in 1767 in his native Venice.
His work depicting The Archangel Michael and Bishop Laurentius of Siponto before the Sanctuary of Monte Gargano displays all the hallmarks of Pittoni’s typical mature style. The elegant stance of the figures – note the exaggerated contrapposto of the the winged youth on the right -, the virtuoso brushwork, the bright chromatic effects and the unmistakable physiognomic characteristic leave no doubt as to the attribution. In fact, Pittoni was very keen on compositions of this sort, presenting two figures in a dynamic dialogue, one placed in the upper, the other in the lower corner. A perfect example is Venus and Mars (London, The National Trust, Iliffe collection, Basildon Park) which, notwithstanding the obvious iconographic differences, presents itself as a sort of mirror image of the above (Franca Zava Boccazzi, Pittoni, Milano 1979, cat. 90, fig. 85). The date of ca. 1725-35 suggested by Zava Boccazzi for the Louvre picture would seem acceptable for this painting as well. The subject of the picture is interesting and not very common. It shows the archangel Michael reporting to the local bishop of Gargano, in Apulia, of a miracle he has performed in a grotto in the neighboring mountains. At that spot, a local landowner had tried to remove and subsequently kill a bull with an arrow. By Divine intervention, he arrow hit the man himself who was left for dead but miraculously healed by the archangel. From that moment on the grotto became a much-frequented sanctuary. Unfortunately, we do not know who is the patron of this remarkable picture, but it is worth remembering that the artistic and commercial rapports between Venice and Apulia were strong from the Middle Ages onwards. Bernard Aikema, University Verona