Valerio Castello

(Génova, 1624 – 1659)

Adoration of the Magi

second half of 17th century

oil on canvas

127.9 x 149.2 cm

Inv. no. 142

BBVA Collection Spain

This work is a good example of the influence which the Parmesan school exerted on painting in Genoa during the second half of the 17th century. The tense, contorted forms and the elongated characters in slightly contrived postures are typical of the painting of this time. It shows signs of the admiration the artist must have felt for Antonio Correggio (1489-1534) ―obvious in the elongation of Mary’s neck― and a liking for the golden atmosphere visible in the practice of Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641).
Pérez Sánchez ventured a possible attribution to Castello, although he also explained that it could have been the work of one of his most immediate followers, like Stefano Magnasco (ca. 1635-ca. 1674), who painted according to the models of the former though conveying less power and restlessness.
The crowding of the characters underscores the complexity of the composition, and charges the work with a tension that is mellowed by the warm hues of the painting and the golden light flooding the group.