Artist: ANGELO DA CAMPO (Verona 1735 – 1826)
Title: Landscape with shepherds and horsemen
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 120 x 137 cm
Period: second half of 18th century
Pier Luigi Fantelli’s expertise attributes this painting to Angelo da Campo from Verona. This attribution is based on the existence of a canvas readily comparable to this one, signed “Angelus de Campo F. Verone” and dated 1772, which was seen several years ago in the antiques market, at the Ribolzi Gallery in Monte Carlo.
Da Campo’s painting style was probably shaped under the guidance of Michelangelo Prunati, as suggested by Diego Zannandreis, who included the artist’s biography in his book Vite dei pittori, scultori e architetti veronesi (first published in 1891, though written in the 1830s); subsequently – quoting Zannandreis – he “set out to work for himself, painting several panels and frames that gained him great esteem”.
The artist’s first notable works are his frescoes at Villa Fracanzani in Ponso, near Padua, executed in 1768 in collaboration with the Bolognese quadraturist Filippo Maccari; the two also worked jointly on decorating the hall at Villa Marioni Pellegrini in Chievo, depicting the “Apotheosis of Hercules”, which was later obfuscated by modern repainting. In the same period, the artist must have worked on the altarpiece in the parish church of Ponso, depicting the “Assumption of the Virgin”, influenced by the styles of Giambettino Cignaroli and Antonio Balestra.
From 1774 to 1777 and from 1784 to 1787 Angelo da Campo took on the role of “master of the week” at the Academy of painting, which had been founded in 1764 by Cignaroli; thus, from 1789 to his death he held the three-year office of Academy Director three times.
The artist’s most important commission emerged in 1786, the “Meeting between Saint Ambrose and Emperor Theodosius”, for the church Sant’Ambrogio di Valpolicella, at the behest of the noble Giorgio Volpini.
According to ancient sources, Da Campo enjoyed the reputation of a good portraitist. Zannandreis also recalls him as being well-known for his landscapes “of excellent workmanship on figures of knights and ladies on horseback”, “as you can see in the Bernini house, in S. Salvator Vecchio in Verona”, of which this painting constitutes a valuable example. Professor Fantelli’s expertise points to how the neoclassical and academic suggestions found in the figures of the “educated” shepherds unite with an almost “pre-Romentic” rendering of the river landscape, albeit strongly “tinged with memories of the Porta and the Veronese landscape of the 18th century”.
Click HERE for a full description in the Catalogue Twenty-five years of activity 2017/2018, pg. 88-89.