Emilio Cavenaghi - inv. 279

Emilio Cavenaghi (1852-1876)

Interior of the Church of San Marco in Milan
1870 c.
oil on canvas  
44,5 x 34,5 cm
"E. Cavenaghi"
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 279

not on display
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In good condition, the painting shows the interior of the transept of the Milanese church of San Marco with a visitor intent on admiring the tomb of Lanfranco Settala, prior of the Hermits of Saint Augustine and founder of the building.
Daylight streams into the shadows of the church from the open window, catching the monuments on the walls.
Quick, broad brushstrokes reproduce the effect of light on the walls, while small precise strokes are used to describe architectural and sculptural details.
The work is not dated. It probably coincides with the painting exhibited at Brera in 1869 entitled L’avello di Lanfranco Settala ed altri monumenti in San Marco di Milano [The Tomb of Lanfranco Settala and Other Monuments in San Marco in Milan], and so belongs to the artist’s academic training period.

Emilio Cavenaghi was trained at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, where he was a pupil of Giuseppe Bertini, friend and consultant to Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli and first director of the Museum. He died only twenty-four years old and his works date to the last five years of his life. As well as some portraits, the main body of works by the young artist show faithful reproductions of public and private places and town monuments (in particular Milan and Pisa) and can be placed within the perspective painting trend. His works are almost always enlivened with figures, often in 18th-century dress.
Emilio was the brother of Luigi Cavenaghi, a well-known picture restorer.