Teaming with figures which are not just shapes but real people, a sample of everyday life, a village fair provides the pretext for a “historical” farce. This is the most famous work by Giuseppe Maria Crespi, a painter from Bologna who ignites his paintings with flashes of light and, more than anything, with irony.
By darkening the space of the composition, Crespi, the skilful puppet-master, snatches out people and things, describing them with no calligraphic intention. He reveals the good humour of his own personality and that of his illustrious patron, the Great Prince Ferdinand de’ Medici, who had invited him to Florence with his family for a long stay. From 6 February to 9 November 1709, he was a guest at Corte and, in the villa at Pratolino, he painted the Fair at Poggio a Cajano , repeating a theme which had already been tackled by Callot in his Fair at Impruneta. He spent two long stays, which explains the large number of works by Crespi in Florence, some of which he even painted in a single day. These included two still lives of game and fish, the latter having been tracked down by the writer of this entry, unnamed in the deposits but now back under the rightful name of its author.
Giovanna Giusti Galardi