Madonna and Child with St. Anthony of Padua
Giambattista Pittoni (1687-1767)
1740, Oil on canvas
This work has been identified as the small altarpiece that the Venetian artist executed around 1740 for San Giacomo dell'Orio, a parish church in the district where he lived that already held three other paintings by him, only one of which is still in situ. Pittoni, initiated into art by his uncle Francesco, was a pupil of Antonio Balestra, and soon showed an interest in the luminous painting of Giambattista Tiepolo and Sebastiano Ricci: his art, loose and carefree in its use of bright colour, belongs to the European Rococo. He painted altarpieces, mythological scenes, and portraits, in an array of commissions from Italian and foreign rulers, invitations that came through fellow artists, men of letters, and connoisseurs. This work belongs to the late phase of Pittoni's production, when his expanded professional activity, brought on by market demand and the numerous requests from contemporary collectors, led to a greater 'perfectionism' in his work, especially with regards to the formal and chromatic sophistication of his compositions, as can be seen here.