FRA GALGARIO (1655 - 1743)
Young Man in Red, ca. 1719
Painted in the colours of red and blue, the canvas, not a portrait but a "character head" alludes, in its slight asymmetry to the qualities of spontaneity and freshness of the round-faced young model, who turns his head slightly to meet our gaze, sustaining it vivaciously. The same young man posed for the artist on two other occasions, for the so-called Young Man and in a pleasantly allegorical composition enttitled Gaiety.
His father's pupil, a quadraturist and veduta painter, Fra Galgario was apprenticed first at Bergamo, then at Venice, where he arrived in 1675 to don the habit of a Minimite lay brother. After a return to Bergamo, he was in Milan with the German painter Salomon Adler; then in Bergamo definitely as Minorite friar in the monastery of Sal Galgario - the saint whose name he took.
Particularly appreciated, along with Cerruti, by 20th century historians and critics - he is considered on of the "Lombard painters of reality" - Fra Galgario renewed the tradition of great 16th century Bergamo portrait painting (his model was above all Moroni), revealing fine psychological and moralistic gifts. His portraits compose a gallery of characters: the gentleman, the priest, the courtier, all portrayed with a keen, sober spirit of observation.