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Permanent Collection

Giacomo Francesco Cipper - 1600–1700

(Feldkirchen, 1664 – Milan, 1736)

Born 1664 in Feldkich (Austria), died 1736 in Milan. The name il Todesco or il Todeschini bears witness to his German, resp. Austrian origin. Cipper was active in Lombardy and came under the influence of Lombard painters. His first known dated and signed work is a still life from 1700, Celery, cherries, figs and cheese (once Bergamo, private collection). Paintings in Cipper’s style, which we can reliably attribute to him, are fairly numerous. It seems that he painted mainly still lifes in his youth, but that he later turned to genre painting which made him famous. His subjects are always lower class people (farmers, artisans, old people, beggars) and scenes taken from their lives, often with a grotesque note, which sometimes becomes superficial and crude. Some canvases indicate that Cipper was acquainted with the works of the Danish painter Eberhart Keilhau (Monsu Bernardo), who was active in Italy between 1651 and 1687.

Lit.: Settecento, Vol. I-II, Milano 1990 (biogr. Vittorio Caprara); Settecento lombardo, Editor Rossana Bossaglia & Valerio Rerraroli, Milano 1991, pp. 100-103 (biogr. Vittorio Caprara); Da Caravaggio, 1998, pp. 477-478 (text Gerlinde Gruber).
From Mannerism to Baroque
Although imported early-Baroque works prevailed in this period and those by itinerant artists, the 17th century paved the way for the future. The political circumstances in the region were relatively stabilized in spite of the Thirty Year War and the patronage gradually grew stronger. The arrival of the Jesuits in Ljubljana, the activity of the polymath Johann Weichard Valvasor, particularly his graphic workshop at Bogenšperk/Wagensperg Castle, and the foundation of the Academia operosorum at the end of the century were the key events of the time. 

Characteristic of sculptural production on the Slovenian territory in the 17th century were the so-called “golden altars”. As a rule, these were gilded and polychrome carved wooden retables with rich ornamentation, first with crustaceous patterns which turned into vine and grapes that covered architectural framework until the achantus foliage took over and obliterated architectural structure completely. The making of golden altars included several branches of fine arts: prints, carving, gilding, painting. Religious painting of the first half of the century still contains Mannerist elements; in the second half also secular motifs became more numerous, particularly genre scenes and aristocratic portraits. The artworks mainly echo northern early-Baroque influences. 

Noteworthy among the newcomers who settled in Carniola with their workshops were the painter and gilder Hans Georg Geiger von Geigerfeld in the mid-century, who had moved to Carniola from the region of the Central Alps, and the Fleming Almanach in the third quarter of the 17th century, known only by his nickname, who worked here only for a few years. The extraordinary productivity and skills of the latter are evidenced by his rare surviving works, mentions in Valvasor’s books, and aristocratic probate inventories.