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The Queen’s Gallery opens Castiglione: Lost Genius

The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace presents Castiglione: Lost Genius an exhibition on view 1 November 2013 – 16 March 2014.

A gift to Her Majesty The Queen from some of the biggest names in British contemporary art and the ground-breaking work of a forgotten 17th-century genius go on display in two new exhibitions opening this Friday (1 November) at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace.

Almost 350 years after the death of Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-64), Royal Collection Trust is staging the UK’s first major show about this now little-known artist. Castiglione: Lost Genius aims to reinstate Castiglione’s reputation as one of the greatest draftsmen of the Baroque through 90 drawings and prints, many of which are on display for the first time, including the artist’s first and last works.

Castiglione’s turbulent life compromised his artistic brilliance. He achieved recognition for a brief period after his death, before falling from fame a century later. Examination of 17th-century court documents has revealed the extent of the artist’s troubled behaviour. A violent and impetuous man, Castiglione was repeatedly accused of assault, allegedly attempted to throw his sister off a roof, and was forced to flee both Genoa and Rome under mysterious circumstances. So sudden was his departure from Rome in 1650 that he took nothing with him and had to borrow items, including underwear, from his lawyer’s family.

Castiglione experimented with style and technique throughout his life. He made large dynamic drawings in oil, which were conceived as finished works of art despite their spontaneous and almost rough appearance. He was also one of Italy’s most significant printmakers, producing around 60 etchings. Castiglione invented the technique of monotype, a strikingly modern hybrid of drawing, painting and printmaking that was adopted by artists such as Degas and Gauguin some 200 years later.

More recently, artists such as Tracey Emin have employed the technique of monotype, as seen in HRH Royal Britania, one of more than 100 works on paper in Gifted: From the Royal Academy to The Queen. The works were presented by the Royal Academy of Arts to Her Majesty to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and include contributions by David Hockney, Anish Kapoor, Cornelia Parker and Grayson Perry. More than 100 Academicians contributed to the Diamond Jubilee portfolio, resulting in a diverse exhibition of prints, drawings and photographs, works in oil, watercolour and mixed media.

Tickets and visitor information:, T. +44 (0)20 7766 7301.