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Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, called il Grechetto (Genoa, 1609 - Mantua, 1664)
Oil on canvas, 178 x 243 cm
Inv. no. 412
Donation Marquis Giacomo Spinola, 1838
The painting depicts one of the artist’s favourite subjects, which he tackled many times over his career and which forms part of a tradition of animal painting present in Genoa with the works of the Bassanos, Scorza, and Flemish painters such as the de Wael brothers or Jan Roos. The episode appears to be a pretext for the meticulous depiction of animals and household goods; a comparison with a drawing depicting the same subject, kept in the Royal Collection in Windsor Castle and dated by Blunt to 1648-1655, suggests it dates to his later years.