1665 Bologna - 1747
Canvas, 89 x 68 cm


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. Traveling to Venice and Parma he there 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 sub tone. 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 Silenus the brilliant patches of concentrated light discerns it chronologically from the Drunken Silenus at the Pinacoteca of Bologna. The special problem treated here - the graceful unification of a group of figures - suggests that the painting was done towards 1700 or a little later.


Haussmann Collection, Berlin 1935
Bode Museum, East - Berlin 
Restituted 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.