Bernardo Cavallino (1616–1656) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, working in Naples.
Born in Naples, he is thought to have died during the plague epidemic in 1656. While his paintings are some of the more stunningly expressive works emerging from the Neapolitan artists of his day, little is known about the painter's background or training. Of eighty attributed paintings, less than ten are signed. He worked through private dealers and collectors whose records are no longer available.
It is said that he trained with Massimo Stanzione, befriended the painter Andrea Vaccaro, and was influenced by Anthony van Dyck, but his paintings could also be described as equidistant from Caravaggio and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo in styles; tenebrism enveloped with a theatrical sweetness, a posed ecstasy and feeling characteristic of the high Roman baroque statuary. He is known to have worked in Neapolitan circles strongly influenced by Stanzione, which included Antonio de Bellis, Artemisia Gentileschi, Francesco Francanzano, Agostino Beltrano and Francesco Guarino.
One of his masterpieces is the billowing proletarian Blessed Virgin at the Brera Gallery in Milan. Passive amid the swirling, muscular putti, this Neapolitan signorina delicately rises from the fog, the updated Catholic baroque equivalent of a Botticelli's Venus. His The Ecstasy of St Cecilia exists both as cartoon (Museo di Capodimonte, Naples) and final copy in the Palazzo Vecchio of Florence. Finally, his Esther and Ahasuerus hangs in the Uffizi Gallery.
Immaculate Conception (1640), 69 cm x 45 cm, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Caen
Immaculate Conception (1650), Brera Gallery, Milan
The Ecstasy of Saint Cecilia, cartoon, Museo di Capodimonte, Naples
The Ecstasy of Saint Cecilia, final work, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence
Esther and Ahaseurus, Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Adoration of the Magi
Gaius Mucius Scaevola Confronting King Porsenna
Saint John the Baptist
Hercules and Omphale
Adoration of the Pastor
The Vision of Saint Dominic
Saint Christina Blanton Art Museum Austin,Texas
Lot and his Daughters
Virgin Annunciate (c. 1645-50), 85.5 cm x 70.0 cm, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
The Ecstasy of St Cecilia (Naples)
Esther and Ahaseurus (Uffizi, Florence)
De Dominici, Bernardo (1742). Vite dei Pittori, Scultori, ed Architetti Napolitani, Volume III. Stamperia del Ricciardi, Naples; Digitized by Googlebooks from Oxford University copy on February 1, 2007. 5.
On Seicento Painting in Naples: Some Observations on Bernardo Cavallino, Artemisia Gentileschi and Others, Józef Grabski. (1985) Artibus et Historiae. p. 23-63.
Stoughton, Michael (1985). "Bernardo Cavallino". Burlington Magazine. pp. 192–194.
Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi, a fully digitized exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries, which contains material on Bernardo Cavallino (see index)