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Jana Zapletalová

Giovanni Vanetti, Fabián Václav Harovník and Wall Painting
in Bohemia after the Thirty Years War

All that was previously known about the painter Giovanni Vanetti (b. 1621 Arogno) was that in the first half of the 1650s he worked for Ottavio Piccolomini (1599–1656) in the chateau in Náchod and subsequently decorated the monastery church of the Cistercians in Neuzelle in Lower Lusatia with his paintings. Essentially, he was an unknown painter with a modest talent from whom, it was assumed, Fabián Václav Harovník (1635–1683) probably learnt the techniques of wall painting. This paper presents new findings about the origin of Giovanni Vanetti, who came from Arogno in today’s Ticino, and about the paintings he is known to have created in Náchod, in Neuzelle and in Muskau near Cottbus. It is devoted to the stylistic starting points of Vanetti in the work of Piero Francesco Mazzucchelli, known as il Morazzone, (1573–1626) and other Lombardy and Ticino painters of the first half of the 17th century. The paper however focuses especially on the interpretation of Giovanni Vanetti in the context of the artistic migration of the masters from the Lombardy-Ticino lakes, in particular of the inhabitants of the parish of Arogno. Vanetti worked in Central Europe with his brother, the stucco-worker Giulio (1626–1688), and then especially the stucco-worker Giovanni Bartolomeo Cometta (c.1620–1687). The three contemporaries from Arogno moved around Bohemia and Central Europe generally close to other artists and artistic craftsmen from Arogno, often working on commissions from the architect Carlo Lurago (1615–1684), who came from the neighbouring parish of Pellio Superiore in the Val d’Intelvi. Last but not least, the article tries to interpret anew the situation in the field of painting in Bohemia in the 1650s and 1660s, and to offer an explanation of Vanetti’s relationship to the Bohemian painter Fabián Václav Harovník, his link to the group of Lurago colleagues, and the engagement of Harovník as a painter by leading aristocrats in Bohemia in their grandiose, newly-built residences.

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