Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione was an Italian draughtsman and pioneering experimenter in printmaking who committed his compositions to paper with breathtaking nonchalance. This innovative master, whose graphic works bear the influence of Rembrandt, invented the monotype technique in the 17th century. His painterly brush drawings in oils were an important source of inspiration for artists who came after him. The exhibition includes rarely seen works from numerous European collections.

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, known as Il Grechetto, Sacred and Profane Love, ca. 1635, The Royal Collection / HM Queen Elizabeth IIRoyal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, known as Il Grechetto, Rest on the Flight to Egypt, ca. 1648, Collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Photo: Studio Tromp
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, known as Il Grechetto, God Appearing to Jacob in Bethel, ca. 1647–1650, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin © bpk / Kupferstichkabinett, SMB / Jörg P. Anders
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Old Bearded Man in a High Fur Cap, with Eyes Closed, ca. 1635, Musée Jenisch Vevey - Cabinet canto-nal des estampes, Fondation William Cuendet & Atelier de Saint-Prex
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, known as Il Grechetto, Diogenes Searching for an Honest Man, ca. 1645–1647, MAH Musée d‘art et d‘histoire, Ville de Genève. Ancien fonds
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, known as Il Grechetto, The Annunciation to the Shepherds, 1630–1664, Albertina, vienna
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, known as Il Grechetto, Nativity with God the Father, ca. 1655, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, known as Il Grechetto, A Pagan Sacrifice in the Temple of Jerusalem, ca. 1645–1650Oil on canvas, 43.2 x 77.4 cmPrivate collection

A virtuoso on paper


CHF 23.–/18.– (concessions and groups) inclusive Collection.
Free admission for members and children and young people under the age of 17. Tip : Free entry every Wednesday and Senior (AHV) discounts.

Note for groups

We look forward to welcoming you to the Kunsthaus. For organizational reasons, prior registration is required., +41 44 253 84 84

Castiglione embodies everything that makes the Baroque so enduringly fascinating: its celebration of inspired artistic brilliance, opulent magnificence and a striving to enrapture the viewer’s senses. Yet Castiglione, who hailed from Genoa and was also dubbed ‘Il Grechetto’, has been overshadowed by Italy’s more celebrated artists. The last comprehensive exhibition to focus on his graphic works called him a ‘lost genius’. He carved out a path of his own between Titian, Bernini and Poussin – artists whom he greatly admired – and left behind a highly individual body of work that curators Jonas Beyer and Timothy J. Standring have condensed into a representative exhibition of some 80 works on paper. It is the first monographic presentation of Castiglione’s graphic oeuvre in a German-speaking country.

‘Baroque Brilliance’ is supported by the Kythera Kultur-Stiftung, Düsseldorf, the Wolfgang Ratjen Stiftung, Vaduz, the Tavolozza Foundation and another foundation that wishes to remain anonymous.

Curated by Jonas Beyer and Timothy J. Standring

Image above: Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, known as Il Grechetto, Noah Guiding the Animals into the Ark, around 1660, Kunsthaus Zürich, 1945

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, known as Il Grechetto, A presumed self-portrait, late 1640s, Musée Jenisch Vevey - Cabinet cantonal des estampes, collection de l‘Etat de Vaud

Want to learn more about the artist and his works? Our art educators will explain in detail the background to some selected works and explore with you their various layers of meaning.

Public guided tour

German: Friday 14.1. at 3 p.m. / Saturday, 22.1. at 11 a.m. / Thursday, 24.2. at 6 p.m.. Italian: Saturday, 12.2. at 11 a.m.. Registration via Agenda!

Private guided tour

We will be happy to organize a tour tailored to the needs of your group.

  • Max. 20 people
  • German, English, French, Italian
  • CHF 190.– (German) / CHF 220.– (other languages) + Admission Ticket (group tarif)
  • Duration: 1 hour

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