Francesco Cairo (Varese 1594 – Milan 1674), Venus, Mars and Cupid

Artist: FRANCESCO CAIRO (Varese 1594 – Milan 1674)
Title: Venus, Mars and Cupid
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 122 x 154 cm
Period: 1600

Francesco del Cairo was born in 1598 near Varese and died in Milan in 1674. A pupil of Morazzone, he then worked as a court painter on portraits and historical paintings for the Duke Vittorio Amedeo di Savoia in Turin. His exposure to Venice and Rome made him, according to his ancient biographers, more gentle in his painting. And finally, in Milan, he was very active as a portraitist and painter of religious themes.

His works can be found in Milan in S. Carlo, in S. Vittorino, in S. Antonio Abate; in the Certosa of Pavia; in the parish church of Varese; in the church of S. Teresa in Piacenza; in S. Bartolomeo in Modena, degli Scalzi in Venice; in the Royal Art Gallery of Turin there is a painting of his, “Christ in the garden of Gethsemane”, dating to before 1635; in the Parma Gallery the paintings “Virgin of the Rosary” and “Martyrdom of St. Margaret” are attributed to him; in the Pinacoteca di Brera there is a self-portrait of him and there is a portrait of him as a young man in the State Museum of Vienna; in the Dresden Gallery there is “Venus with Apollo and Cupid”.

He is one of the most distinguished painters of the Lombard Baroque alongside Morazzone, Cerano and Procaccini. His paintings are full of movement and dramatic touches; dark shades prevail, illuminated by unexpected flashes.