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Dynasties of Artists

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Artistic families are one of art history’s underestimated themes since family bonds actually explain many things about how works are distributed, and their figurative content. The Lugano craftsmen were largely bound by blood ties and families became enterprises through which knowledge and clients were affectionately handed down. The famous Borromini, born Francesco Castelli, came from Bissone on Lake Lugano and settled in Rome. The Castellis of Piedmont were a Varese branch and included Filippo, who invented the subalpine nNeoclassical style seen in the chapel of Turin’s Ospedale San Giovanni. Other dynasties active in painting and sculpture included the Carlones; the D’Erricos and the great Tanzio, a clever Caravaggio imitator; the Fiammenghinis also active in the Sacro Monte complexes; and the Casellas, who were stucco artists and skilled draftsmen.

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