Manfredi, Bartolomeo

(c. 1580-1621)
   Little is known of Bartolomeo Manfredi's career as painter. He was born in Ostiano near Mantua and went to Rome sometime between 1600 and 1606, where he became one of Caravaggio's closest followers. Giovanni Baglione wrote that Manfredi in fact worked in Caravaggio's studio as his assistant and servant. His Gypsy Fortune Teller (c. 1610-1615; Detroit Institute of Arts) depicts a subject also tackled by Caravaggio (c. 1596; Rome, Capitoline Museum). Like his master, Manfredi used half-figures set against a dark, undefined background and lit through the use of theatrical chiaroscuro. His Cupid Punished by Mars (1605-1610; Chicago, Art Institute) relates compositionally and thematically to Caravaggio's Amor Vincit Omnia (1601-1602; Berlin, Gemäldegalerie) and his Guardroom (c. 1608; Dresden, Gemäldegalerie) borrows from Caravaggio's Cardsharps (1595-1596; Forth Worth, Kimball Museum of Art). Manfredi was responsible for transmitting the Caravaggist mode of painting to the foreign masters who visited Rome in the early decades of the 17th century, particularly from France and the Netherlands.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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