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The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione
Italian, 1609–1664

Noah and the Animals Entering the Ark

Etching, about 1650–55
William J. Hitchcock Fund in memory of Grace J. Hitchcock, 2000.47

The animals, grouped densely to one side of this composition, proceed to Noah’s waterborne ark at the left. Giovanni Castiglione is thought to have studied with a master of animal and still life painting and printmaking, Sinibaldo Scorza (Italian, 1589–1631), where he probably learned the art of etching. He continued to specialize in animal-filled biblical and mythological scenes throughout his career.This print is a prime example of Castiglione’s etching style. There is a controlled use of chiaroscuro reminiscent of that used so successfully by Rembrandt. Castiglione also shared Rembrandt’s experimental inclination and continually refined his etching technique. He was one of the first to develop both the monotype and soft-ground etching.