1624 Genoa – 1659
Oil on Copper
23 x 31 cm
Castello learned to paint by copying his father Bernardo Castello’s drawings, and was then apprenticed to Domenico Fiasella and Giovanni Andrea de’ Ferrari. In his early twenties he travelled to Milan and then on to Parma, probably between 1640 and 1645.
Exposure to the work of Procaccini in Milan proved particularly influential on his style, and the art of Giovanni Battista Crespi and Francesco Cairo also left an impression. In Parma he studied the work of Parmigianino and Correggio, and in his early paintings he creates a synthesis of these influences and forms a highly personal style. The refined elegance of these compositions reflect the Mannerist impulse behind his early art, whilst his palette is a vibrant combination of reds, blues, pinks and yellows that suggest he had become familiar with van Dyck’s work in Genoa, and was influenced by the Flemish artist’s handling of colour.
He spent the rest of his brief career in Genoa where Castello painted a number of frescoes in the palaces and churches but his success was cut short by his early death in 1659.
Valerio Castello seems to have been particularly attracted by the themes of the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Adoration of the Kings and despite his numerous private commissions, Castello never repeated himself.
Our painting presents an Adoration of the Shepherds and there is a version in the Collection Pallavicini in Rome (Fig.1). It is very clear to see that the painting is similar to ours but differs in its composition, as they do in size.
Private Collection, Austria
Fig.1: Valerio Castello, Adoration of the Sheperds, Copper, 23,5 x 31 cm, Rome, Collection Pallavicini