Friars Around a Hearth (formerly Interior with Monks)

Alessandro Magnasco (Italian, 1667-1749)
c. 1725
Oil on canvas 
36-1/2 x 52-1/4 in. (93 x 132.7 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
On View

Unlike his contemporaries, who preferred bright, glowing colors, Alessandro Magnasco favored the dramatic contrast of lights and darks. Magnasco's small figures are executed with swift brushstrokes and darting flashes of light. In this picture, the artist has painted a large group of monks or friars warming themselves around a fire. Magnasco's fragmented figures, made of quick strokes and a monochromatic palette, create an eerie scene that anticipates the work of Goya.


[Stephan Bourgeois, Paris and New York, sold ca. 1911 to];
Sir William van Horne (1843–1915), Montreal, Canada, by descent to his heirs;
Margaret van Horne (grand-daughter-in law to Sir William), sold 1967 to;
[Mortimer Brandt, New York];
[Edward Speelman, London/A.G., Zug, Switzerland, offered 25 February 1972 and subsequently sold 6 November 1973 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

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