A Reclining Satyr, attributed to Gaspare Diziani (1689–1767).

Oil on canvas, 54.5cm by 68.5cm. In a carved and giltwood frame.

The painting was probably acquired by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700) whilst on the Grand Tour.

The 1763 Burghley Inventory, in the distinctive hand of his great grandfather, Brownlow, 9th Earl of Exeter (1725-1793) records: ‘the dressing room … Acis and Galatea.’

The suggestion is perhaps that this is taken from the legend of Acis and Galatea and the figure is actually that of the jealous Polyphemus about to hurl a rock at Acis, as in Greek mythology and Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Diziani’s early training was in his native Belluno, but he was mainly active in Venice, where he was prolific.

He painted church frescoes and also worked as a scenery painter for the theatre and the opera in Venice and later in both Munich and Dresden.

He was invited to Rome by Cardinal Ottoboni in 1726 to paint  a fresco for the Church of San Lorenzo in Damaso, a work now known only through a later engraving.


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