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 Allessandro Magnasco  (1667 - 1749)

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Lived/Active: Italy      Known for: portrait, melodramatic scenes

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Allessandro Magnasco was born in Genoa, Italy in 1667. He was called Il Lissandrino. He was a pupil of his father, Stefano Magnasco, and also studied under Filippo Abbiati in Milan and was considerably influenced by the latter's manner of painting. At the beginning of his career he was a portraitist, but virtually nothing is known of this aspect of his career.

Later he turned to the type of work for which he is now known. He worked for some time in Florence, where the Grand Duke Giovanni Gastone de'Medici was his patron. He returned to Genoa in 1735 and worked there until his death. He was a painter chiefly of highly individual melodramatic scenes set in storm-tossed landscapes, ruins, convents and gloomy monasteries, peopled with small elongated figures of monks, nuns, gypsies, mercenaries, witches, beggars and inquisitors. His style and methods seem anachronistically close to Impressionism; his brushwork is nervous and flickering and his lighting effects macabre. He was very prolific and his work rarely dated. He died in Genoa in 1749.

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
Masterpieces of Art: catalogue of the New York World's Fair 1940
The Oxford Dictionary of Art, Oxford University Press 1988. Edited by Jan Chilvers, Harold Osborne and Dennis Farr.

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