Giovanni Ghisolfi

milan 1623 – 1683

figures conversing among ruins, a pyramid in the distance

49 x 66 cm., oil on canvas


  • Literature
  • Giancarlo Sestieri,  Il Capriccio Architettonico: in Italia nel XVII e XVIII secolo, (2015), Rome, illus. Vol II, fig. 70, p. 168.

Typical of Ghisolfi’s more intimate capricci, this canvas features an especially lively, closely-observed, and vigorously rendered group of figures by Salvator Rosa, of a type not far distant from those painted by Gian Paolo Panini, seventy-five years later. Especially interesting is the red-shirted figure second from the right, whose posture, profile, headwear, and facial composition are a near match to the figure, also second from the right in another of our pictures by this artist – Philosophers Conversing Among Ruins.  With these two capricci, note, as well, the similar arrangements of the figures – a central group of four men attended by a peripheral pair.

Note, too, in the decoration of the ruined temple’s entablature, the characteristic Ghisolfian device of spiraling vine-form ornament, as well as the literally punctuating vertical element of a solitary statue atop a pedestal.

At the back side of the canvas, written in an antique hand, a label offers another title “The Ruins and Landscape by Gisolphi; The Figures by Gaspar Poussin.”

What an interesting, though highly unlikely collaboration that might have proved! For more about Ghisolfi, please see our description of  Philosophers Conversing Amongst Ruins.