Laborers, unhoused, and marginalized individuals are the protagonists of a striking series of paintings by Italian artist Giacomo Ceruti (1698–1767), currently on view in a groundbreaking exhibition at the Getty Center. Curator Davide Gasparotto introduces the painter and his unusual work, exploring relationships between art and economic inequality in the early modern period and considering what these paintings might have signified to 18th-century audiences.
Image: Giacomo Ceruti (Italian, 1698 – 1767) Oil on canvas, Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, Brescia
DAVIDE GASPAROTTO is Senior Curator of Paintings, and Chair, Curatorial Affairs at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles since 2014. A native of Bassano del Grappa, Italy, he studied the History of Art and Classical Archaeology at the University of Pisa and the Scuola Normale Superiore. He was the Director of the Fondazione Piero della Francesca in Sansepolcro from 1996 to 1998. Afterword he spent 12 years as a curator at the National Gallery of Parma. From 2012 to 2014 he was Director of the Galleria Estense in Modena. He was also a Francis A. Yates Fellow at the Warburg Institute, London (1999), Paul Mellon Visiting Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. (2007), and an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2011-2012). Davide specializes in painting, sculpture and the decorative arts of the early modern period, the rediscovery of classical antiquity between the Middle Ages and the eighteenth century, and the history of collecting. At the Getty, he organized several acclaimed exhibitions such as Giovanni Bellini: Landscapes of Faith in Renaissance Venice (2017-18) and Pontormo: Miraculous Encounters (2019, with Bruce Edelstein). For the museum he has acquired important paintings by Parmigianino, Bronzino, Orazio Gentileschi, Joseph Wright of Derby, François-André Vincent, Jean-Antoine Watteau, Quentin Metsys, Vilhelm Hammershøi and Giovanni Segantini.