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Cherubino Pata (Italian, 1827-1899)


Also known as:  Pata, Chérubino

The Italian native Cherubino Pata is best known as the assistant of the French Realist master Gustave Courbet, who hired him during the 1870s as a chief painter in his Swiss workshop, as well as a secretary. In order to save time and increase his output—up to 40 canvases in six weeks—Courbet had Pata and other assistants prepare and finish canvases and, on occasion, paint entire compositions that Courbet would then sign.

Pata so excelled in rendering foliage, rocks, and animals that it is often difficult to differentiate his hand from Courbet's. However, certain clear stylistic discrepancies exist: Pata applied his impasto with flecks, rather than broad strokes, and he alternated impastoed and flat passages, creating a patchwork effect; too, his compositions are more static than Courbet's which tend to accentuate diagonal lines and movement.

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