Five Putti Playing on the Branches of a Tree (1590s)
About this artwork
This charming drawing, executed almost entirely with a brush, is a characteristic late sheet by Farinati, perhaps dating from the 1590s. No related painting or fresco by the artist is known, but the light-hearted subject matter of putti frolicking in the branches suggests that it may have been a design for part of the decoration of a country villa. The putto at the top corner reaches for two fruits, apparently pomegranates. Pomegranates have a long symbolic tradition in Western art, and they are traditionally interpreted as a sign of the regeneration and growth of spring.
Farinati was born in Verona and became the city’s leading painter in the later part of the sixteenth century after his compatriot Paolo Veronese moved to Venice in the early 1550s. Farinati was not only a successful painter, but also a prolific and accomplished draughtsman. According to Vasari, Farinati was a pupil of Nicolò Giolfino, who encouraged him to concentrate on line as opposed to colour. He absorbed the influences of the fashionable Mannerist style of his youth, and the powerful figure style of Michelangelo. His work reflected this throughout his career. Farinati admired Veronese’s strong use of chiaroscuro and coarse brushwork, and incorporated these into his own paintings.