Paintings of Old Masters from Mali Lošinj
Zagreb, March 4, 1999
After a half-century of wandering, Dr. Piperata's collection of paintings finally found its home. The most valuable part of the collection are the paintings of seventeenth and eighteenth century Italian, French and Dutch schools
In addition to the usual sights and beauty of the islands of Cres and Lošinj, known for the perfect harmony of nature and historic human activity, the recent opening of the permanent exhibition of Art Collections in Mali Lošinj, which include the Piperata and Andre Vid Mihičić Collections, has created a new, very interesting destination for the chance visitor with more refined tastes.
The Piperata Collection of paintings by old masters consists of 27 paintings and three wooden chests. Of course, the most valuable part of the collection are the paintings by the seventeenth and eighteenth century Italian, French and Dutch schools. Although the collection has been known to experts for a longer period, serious expert and scholarly evaluation and the resolution of a number of related issues and precise dating have yet to be done.
Giuseppe Piperata, a physician and collector born in Mali Lošinj in 1883, became "infected" with collector's fever during his studies in Naples, when he acquired the first paintings for his future collection. The love for beauty accompanied him all of his life. Although he was never wealthy, he managed to save considerable amounts of money, forsaking many things to create this respectable collection which has finally, after over a half-century of wandering, found its home. The collection was presented to the public for the first time in 1967 and again 20 years later. Since then, efforts to present the Piperata Collection as a permanent exhibition have intensified.
The paintings whose authors were identified, although cautiously, were those of the highest stylistic and morphological quality and best defined; the painting Meeting with Rebecca was immediately ascribed to Francesco Solimena, the leading Naples painter in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. It can be dated back to the later years of his work, when the powerful high baroque style began to subside, which clearly indicates not only that the likely author of the painting is Francesco Solimena but also the more precise year of its creation, which is approximately 1710.
The second painting which should be singled out is the work of Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, known under the name Il Guercino (1591-1666). He was an artist who began to develop his skills under Lodovico Caracci's direct influence. Together with Guido Reni and Lodovico Caracci, he was the most influential painter of the Bolognese baroque from the first half of the seventeenth century. In addition to all Baroque characteristics of Guercino's painting, Allegorical Landscape with Female Images bears strong features of Reni's baroque classicism.
Antonio Carneo (1637-1682) is a painter of the Venetian early baroque school, presented in the Piperata Collection by the impressive monumental painting Adoration of the Magi, typical of Carneo. Portrait of a Woman by Francesco Fontebass (1709-1769), a Venetian late baroque painter and follower of Ricci and Tiepolo, is a good example of ceremonial baroque portrait painting.
Two paintings with identical titles, Adoration of the Shepherds, were rightfully ascribed to the great Bassano school due to their stylistic characteristics, and it would not be possible to assign them to any other period or school. The artist was obviously a more distant follower of this great family of painters, but certainly from their time. A similar case holds for paintings ascribed to A. Magnasco's school, i.e. Heavy Seas with Two Figures and St. Francis Speaks to the Fish, which have many morphological features of Magnasco but also many inconsistencies.
The paintings whose artists have not yet been accurately identified, but have instead been dated approximately, for instance an eighteenth century Italian master, are very interesting not only for experts but also for the general public. Canal Grande, a small painting by Filippo Tibertelli, known as Filippo De Pisis (1896-1956) should also be noted. It unites the Venetian painting tradition with the painting of the first quarter of our century.
(Miroslav Gašparović, Vjesnik)
This page compliments of Marisa Ciceran