HAL will be down for maintenance from Friday, June 10 at 4pm through Monday, June 13 at 9am. More information
Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation

The art of Giulio Benso : Genoese figure between mannerism and baroque

Abstract : The research project we are presenting focuses on the study and the reconstruction of the personality and artworks of Giulio Benso, a Genoese painter, draftsman and architect between Mannerism and Baroque, a specialist in illusionist decoration. The dispersion of a third of his works, in particular altar paintings and some fresco decorations, combined with the large number of graphic projects of different quality which have been attributed to him in recent decades have generated a bad reputation for his work, too often considered as a second-rate one compared to his contemporaries. In this study, his artistic activity will therefore be analyzed and contextualized using archival documents and ancient sources, from his training at the Academy of Giovanni Battista Paggi, a Genoese cultural environment, to the numerous Ligurian and foreign orders - German and French - assigned to him during his life, in order to highlight the contacts, the relationships with certain artists such as Giovanni Andrea Ansaldo and Giovanni Battista Carlone, the inspirations according to the Lombard, Venetian, Bolognese and Roman schools. The experiences he had and that allowed him to evolve in his work and to communicate his style to the successive generations of painters will also be taken into account. This analysis has been conducted in a precise and rigorous manner, by highlighting the existing documents on the artist, on his life and his works. The in-depth study of all the modern contributions published so far on him, on Genoa and on the Genoese school of the 16th and 17th centuries, has been enriched by documentary research in the various archives establishments of the Liguria region and by the examination of ancient sources, such as guides and manuscripts on the artistic production of the territory, with the aim of establishing the complete artistic activity of the painter, including destroyed paintings and frescoes, in order to highlight its evolution and the relationships with its contemporaries. This work thus presents an introductory part concerning the critical fortune lived by the painter during his life and after his death. This is followed by the second, which is focused on the study of his training at the Paggi Academy and on commissions for paintings and trompe l'oeil decorations received in Liguria. Then, a third chapter is devoted to missions abroad: in Germany, in Weingarten, described through the epistolary relationship between the artist and the sponsor Gabriele Bucellino, thanks to the old documents that were found and the letters transcribed by the heir of Benso, father Lorenzo Sertorio, and in France, in Cagnes-sur-Mer, in Provence, for which the vast iconographic and iconological program of the decor, chosen by the family, with a strong political reference has been studied. This study then presents two catalogs. One devoted to painting and the other to graphic production. The first follows a chronological order by mission, including lost or destroyed orders, thereby seeking to offer a reading of the painter’s artistic investment in the social and cultural framework of Liguria, Germany and France. Long-term orders such as those from the Annunziata del Guastato in Genoa from 1638 to 1647 or those for Weingarten from 1627 to 1667 are processed in their unit to facilitate the analysis of their development. This is followed by the catalog of drawings presented chronologically. The study of Giulio Benso's graphic production requires a rigorous and scientific analysis based on stylistic as well as technical and documentary checks. Studies conducted in the past on the artist's drawings have revealed many attribution problems, which involve reordering. It is therefore proposed to try to establish the complete corpus of his graphic work by re-examining all the sheets attributed to him and those of the Genoese school kept in public and private collections.
Document type :
Complete list of metadata

Cited literature [469 references]  Display  Hide  Download

Contributor : Abes Star :  Contact
Submitted on : Thursday, September 3, 2020 - 12:40:11 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 12:33:26 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, December 4, 2020 - 5:22:17 PM


Version validated by the jury (STAR)


  • HAL Id : tel-02929317, version 1



Stefania Carola Lumetta. The art of Giulio Benso : Genoese figure between mannerism and baroque. Art and art history. Université Paris sciences et lettres; Università degli studi di Roma "Tor Vergata" (1972-..), 2020. Italian. ⟨NNT : 2020UPSLP022⟩. ⟨tel-02929317⟩



Record views


Files downloads