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Antonio Balestra

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Antonio Balestra
17th-18th-century Veronese
(Verona, Italy, 1666 - 1740, Verona, Italy)

Celebrated in its own time but relatively ignored since, Balestra’s style represents a combination of the Venetian painterly tradition with Late Baroque classicism. Born and trained in Verona, Balestra was already inclined toward the stronger design and greater plasticity of that city’s interpretation of Venetian painting. Definitive, however, was a trip to Rome (1691-94) and study with the reigning master of classicism, Carlo Maratta. Alternating between Verona and Venice, he developed a synthetic and very attractive style, with the debt to Maratta clear in his compositions, rhetoric, and adeptness at high finish, but his basic orientation unmistakable in his warmer and more mobile light, variable tonalities, and regular indulgence of looser brushwork. This style also served to prepare innumerable painters of the next generation in the Veneto.


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