Guardian Angel

Carlo Bononi

Ferrara, 1569-1632


Oil on canvas, 240 x 140cm

A splendid sample of Bononi’s mature work, this painting originally decorated an altar in the Chiesa di Sant’Andrea and was one of the works commissioned to the artist by Ferrarese nobleman Sigismondo Carpi. A young man kneels as Satan attempts to grab him from behind. The man puts his trust in the Guardian Angel who points towards the glories of heaven. In the background, there is a typical Ferrarese landscape with patches of colour and intense lighting contrasts. This work can be dated to 1625-30 on stylistic grounds. The execution of the majestic angel is reminiscent of Guido Reni. Bononi restrains forms that are, by now, Baroque with a cold, carefully considered palette. The painting is recorded as part of the Pinacoteca collections from 1863 onwards.