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Permanent Collection


Giuseppe Diamantini

(Fossombrone, 1621–1705)

(1660−1670), oil, canvas, 131,2 x 105,3 cm

NG S 1271, National Gallery of Slovenia, Ljubljana

The motif of this wonderful painting
is taken from the Bible (Judith 13, 1–9) and shows Judith just after she has
cut off Holofernes’ head (his corpse can be seen in the background on the left)
and is handing it to a maid to put it into a sack. The heroine is gazing to the
heavens and thanking the Lord.  The painting is attributed to
Giuseppe Diamantini, a painter and graphic artist who worked in Venice and
Veneto under the influence of the Venetian painter Pietro Liberi (1605–1687).
Judith's face relates to the face of the angel musician in Diamantini's
painting The Carmelite Mother of God with St Simon Stock and Teresa of Ávila
from the Church of St Francis in Zadar.

A. Cevc, Stari tuji, I, pp. 21-22, Cat. No. 24, Fig. 15 (Giovanni Andrea Donducci, called Il Mastelletta); G. Gamulin, Doprinos Emilijancima, Peristil, 4, pp. 101, 107, Fig. 5 (Giovanni Andrea Mastelletta); G. Gamulin, Stari majstori u Jugoslaviji, II, Zagreb 1964, pp. 127, 133, Fig. 76 (Mastellettta); Alb. Rizzi, 1972, p. 133, No. 24 (Tuscan (?), 17 century); G. Gamulin, Neobjavljeni Seicento. Il Seicento inedito, Peristil, 16/17, 1973/1974, pp. 83-84, Fig. on p. 84; Zeri [& Rozman], 1983, pp. 29-30, Cat. No. 16, Fig. 17; N. Kudiš Burić, Alcune proposte per Giuseppe Diamantini pittore, Arte documento, 26, 2010, p. 226, Fig. 4

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.