Haussmann Collection, Berlin 1935
Bode Museum, East – Berlin
Restitued to the descendants of Mr. Haussmann, 2012
Roli, Renato, Pittura bolognese, 1650 – 1800, Dal Cignani al Gandolfi, Bologna, 1977, (168c)
Mostra del settecento bolognese, Palazzo Communale, Bologna, 1935, p. 19 (XVIII)
Mira Pajes Merriman, Giuseppe Maria Crespi, 1980, Milano, p. 281 No. 164, ill. No. 164
Guiseppe Maria Crespi showed his unique talent already in the Bolognese School of painting. His nickname Lo Spagnuolo derived of the habit of wearing Spanish fashionable clothes.
At the age of 12 he received his earliest training at the atelier of Angelo Michele Toni.
Further on he became a scholar of the Bolognese painter Domenico Maria Canuti and also studied drawing under Carlo Cignani in his Accademia del Nudo. Crespi had an highly individual style in using dark and light contrasts as well as in his use of various colours. Travelling to Venice and Parma where he studied Correggio for some time.
Crespi developed an interest in the intense observation of everyday life. His portraits of beggars and lower class people as well as insights into harsh reality were often characterized by a darker subtone. In this respect he was often compared to his contemporary Alessandro Magnasco. Crespi presided a school in Bologna and became an important influence to his students.
In our painting of Silenus the brilliant patches of concentrated light discerns it from the Drunken Silenus at the Pinacoteca of Bologna. The special problem of a complex unification of a group of figures – suggests that the painting was painted about 1700 or a little later.