By Costanza Beltrami

Painter Andrea Malinconico was born in Naples on 3 June 1635. He may have trained in the workshop of Massimo Stanzione, although his style was also influenced by Andrea Vaccaro, Anton Van Dyck, Francesco Guarino, Bernardo Cavallino and Charles Mellin. An intimate knowledge of the work of these artists can be noticed in works such as the Rebekah at the Well in the Provincial Museum in Bari. Artistic influence complemented personal friendship: Andrea Vaccaro was one of the witnesses at Andrea Malinconico’s wedding to Antonia de Popoli on 15 July 1658. Antonia’s family was also one of painters, and two of the couple’s sons, Oronzo and Nicola, continued in this profession.

Although surviving documents suggest that Andrea Malinconico was in demand as a portrait painter, surviving signed works are mostly religious, for example a Saint Joseph holding the Christ Child(late 1670s) in the church of the Monastery of Suor Orsola Benincasa. Other works of the 1670s such as the Assumption of the Virgin for the ceiling of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Cavizzano reveal the influence of Stanzione and Guarino. Yet Malinconico’s mature and most complex works are in dialogue with the art of Luca Giordano, one of the most successful and prolific Baroque painters and printmakers. His influence can be traced in works such as the Birth of the Virgin, the Immaculate Conception and the Trinity welcoming Saint Rosalia and Carlo Borromeo in Heaven, all comparable to specific works by Giordano.

The best place to appreciate Malinconico’s art is the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Naples, which has been described as a ‘museum’ of his work: the painter realized the church’s entire decoration, apart from the altarpiece and dome, in the late 1670s and 1680s.

Malinconico died in Naples of 4 October 1698.

Reference: Luca Bortolotti, ‘MALINCONICO, Andrea,’ in Dizionario Biografico degli italiani,

Further Reading: Roberta Bellucci, Andrea Malinconico e il secondo seicento a Napoli (Naples, 2015).

S. Francesco di Paola, oil on canvas, Pio Monte della Misericordia, Naples.

Banquet of Absalom, oil on canvas, Cathedral of St Matthew, Salerno.

Penitent Magdalene, oil on canvas, private collection. Source: Arcadja auction Results.

Lot and his daughters, oil on canvas, private collection. Source: Arcadja auction Results.

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