In a dimly lit room, friars dressed in gray and brown habits, or robes, seek warmth around a smoky fire. They belong to a Christian religious order, likely the Capuchins, which required its followers to take a vow of poverty. The artist’s dynamic brushstrokes create a sense of movement, as if we can see the friars arranging themselves on benches and stretching their limbs. Throughout, Alessandro Magnasco inserts moments of humanity and even humor. In the foreground a friar uses his rope belt as a cat toy, and near the upper right corner of the hearth, an elderly man rests an arm on his companion’s knee. Typical of Magnasco’s ambivalent depictions of religious groups, this painting neither mocks nor glorifies austere monastic life, but rather invites the viewer to explore multiple interpretations.
- Artist Name: Alessandro Magnasco (Italian, 1667-1749)
- Title: Friars Around a Hearth (formerly Interior with Monks)
- Date: c. 1725
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 36-1/2 x 52-1/4 in. (93 x 132.7 cm)
- Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
- Accession Number: F.1973.34.1.P
- Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation
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.
Alessandro Magnasco 1667 - 1749
- Palazzo Reale, 1996-03-21 to 1996-07-07
- Guelfi, Fausta Franchini, Alessandro Magnasco, p. 103
- Geiger, Benno, I disegni del Magnasco,
- Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 995 p. 360
- Soprani, R.; and C. G. Ratti, Vitte de'pittori, scultori e architetti genovesi,
- Mandel, O., The Art of Alessandro Magnasco: An Essay in the Recovery of Meaning,pl. I
- Morassi, A., Mostra del Magnasco,
- Bober, Jonathan, et al., A Superb Baroque: Art in Genoa, 1600-1750,2020, fig. 14 p. 87 ; p. 86 (ill.)
- Valentiner, W. R., Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, pp. 85-88
- Muti, Laura; and Daniele de Sarno Prignano, Alessandro Magnasco,no. 247, figs. 147, 310, 311 pp. 242, 247
- Geiger, Benno, Magnasco,pls. 430-432 p. 120
- Ferri, Armando, Sei e settecento italiano: Alessandro Magnasco,pl. XXIX p. 16
- Zuffi, Stefano, Alessandro Magnasco 1667-1749: Guida alla Mostra, pp. 26-27
- Magnoni, V., Alessandro Magnasco,
- Geiger, Benno, Alessandro Magnasco,no. 205, pl. 37, pl. XXXVII
- Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 98
- Durst, Hans, Alessandro Magnasco,fig. 5 p. 69
- Delogu, Giuseppe, Pittori minori Liguri Lombardi Piemonte si del seicento e del settecento,pl. 191
- McCorquodale, Charles, The Connoisseur, p. 204-215
- Mostra dei pittori genovesi a Genova nel '600 e nel '700,under no. 142
- Pospisil, Maria, Magnasco,no. 116 pp. xxxvi, lx
- Geiger, Benno, Belvedere,pl. 17
Image reproduction permission may be granted for scholarly or arts related commercial use. All image requests, regardless of their intended purpose, should be submitted via the reproduction request form.
Images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. Additional permission may be required.
Approved requests for the reproduction of an image will receive a contract detailing all fees and conditions of use of the image. Upon receipt of both the signed contract and full payment, the Office of Rights and Reproductions will provide the image. A complimentary copy of the published material must be provided to the Norton Simon Museum.