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Dance of the nymphs
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18th Century
Donato CRETI
Dance of the nymphs
[Ballo di ninfe]
Oil on canvas
140 x 114 cm  [HxW]
Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Venezia, Roma

The painting, which was donated to the Italian State by the Ruffo Bagnara family, was identified and published by Alcsuti in 1932. The work — of restrained classicism with a modern, 18th-century interpretation of the style of Reni, Albani and Cantarini — places Creti as one of the leading European artists in the early 18th century.

He arrived in Bologna at an early age, and learnt much from Annibale: it was probably in Pasinelli’s studio, where he started his training with a Neo-Venetian approach, that he was guided towards a study of the “ gamme chiarissime ” of Reni and Cantarini. In the city of the Carraccis, he demonstrated a precocious talent which earned him the appreciation and protection of Count Alessandro Fava, in whose family palazzo, which had been frescoed by the young Carracci, he spent a long time. Creti soon became famous as a “ grandissimo disegnatore ” — a great draughtsman — while his paintings were increasingly appreciated. By the age of thirty, he was a well-established artist. Not only did he receive many commissions from noble families in Bologna, but he also achieved success in the academies: in 1709, he was one of the founding members of the Accademia Clementina, of which he was appointed Principe in 1728.

Michela Ulivi

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