The Guastalla Family

Adeodato Malatesta

Modena, 1806 – 1891


Oil on canvas, 230 x 180cm

This painting entered the Galleria Estense collections in 1964 thanks to a donation made by Signora Elsa Guastalla. 

It shows Cavaliere Israele Guastalla with his spouse, four children and a relative. A debate still surrounds the dating of the canvas, dated variously to 1867 or 1871,. The setting has not been definitively identified either and could be Villa dei Guastalla in S. Faustino (Modena) or the Villa Vigarani Guastalla. These details aside, the format and plein air setting appear to suggest influences from Tuscan painting, particularly the Macchiaioli which Malatesta seems to cite. However, these elements are interpreted in a genuinely purist tradition visible in the  neatness of the drawn line, the verisimilitude of every small detail, and the placement of the subjects in the foreground who occupy the entire scene, while the  landscape stays in the background.