Jacob’s Dream by Gioacchino Assereto Acquired by Grenoble

Gioacchino Assereto (1600-1649)
Jacob’s dream
Oil on canvas - 74.5 x 148 cm
Grenoble, Musée
Photo : Galerie Canesso

21/11/11 - Acquisition - Grenoble, Musée - In 2005, Grenoble acquired a 17th century Neapolitan Saint Cecilia, Martyr, attributed to Francesco Guarino (see the news item of 27/2/05 in French).

Quite recently, the museum made an addition to its collections by purchasing a Seicento Italian painting from the Canesso Gallery in Paris, of much larger format but with a subject and treatment which has certain similarities to the 2005 acquisition. Although this time the artist, Gioacchino Assereto, is from Genoa, his Caravaggesque tenebrism obviously recalls the Neapolitan school. Moreover, it also represents a reclining figure as it illustrates Jacob’s Dream. This familiar episode from Genesis recounts how Jacob has a dream after falling asleep in which he sees a ladder (at times shown in the form of a staircase) leading up to heaven where a multitude of angels are moving up and down. God then appears to Jacob and tells him he is giving this land to him and his descendants. While the figure of God the Father is sometimes painted at the top of the ladder, it is often depicted, as in Assereto’s canvas, only as a divine light.

A student of Luciano Borzone and of Giovanni Andrea Ansaldo, the artist was first influenced by Bernardo Strozzi as well as by Rubens and Van Dyck, who left his mark on Genoese painting as we all know. After traveling to Rome in 1639, where he was able to see Caravaggio’s paintings, Assereto’s work was drawn more to the latter’s chiaroscuro style. Like his Saint Mark, acquired by Toulouse in 2003 (see the news item of 20/2/04 in French), Jacob’s Dream can be dated to the 1640’s, that is the artist’s last years, due to its realistic character and the dramatization of the scene.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 22 novembre 2011

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