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Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione: Genius in Context

Jonathan Bober, curator and head of the department of old master prints, National Gallery of Art. The genius of Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-1664) is characterized by his thoroughgoing synthesis of other artists' styles, his incessant variations upon a relatively narrow range of subjects, and his profound influence upon later artists. In the National Gallery of Art exhibition The Baroque Genius of Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, on view from January 29 to July 8, 2012, Castiglione's works and comparative examples are presented side by side, underscoring the serial aspect of his creativity. In this lecture recorded on June 3, 2012, exhibition curator Jonathan Bober suggests that this creativity contradicts the division of Baroque style into "naturalistic" and "classical," and predicts critical aspects of contemporary art, including appropriation, crossing of boundaries, and variations on a theme.