Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini, Venice 1675 - 1741
Together with Sebastiano Ricci and Jacopo Amigoni, Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini was the most important Venetian history painter of the early eighteenth century. Pellegrini excelled in the creation of grand decorative schemes, marrying the Renaissance style of Paolo Veronese with the Baroque of Pietro da Cortona and Luca Giordano in bright and vivacious compositions, accomplished in their illusionism. The artist travelled widely, setting the standard for Italianate Rococo elegance across Europe. In 1708, the British ambassador to Venice, Charles Montagu, later 1st duke of Manchester, convinced Pellegrini, along with Marco Ricci, to come to England, where he worked until 1713 and again in 1719, painting murals at Kimbolton Castle in Cambridgeshire and at Castle Howard in Yorkshire. He also worked at the Haymarket theatre, designing sets for Scarlatti’s opera Pirro e Demetrio (1709). Pellegrini left England in 1713 to work for Johann Wilhelm, elector of the palatinate, at Schloss Bensberg near Düsseldorf, and subsequently travelled all over Europe, with periods in Austria, France, and the Netherlands. He finally returned to his native Venice in 1730. His influential work played an important role in the formation of Giambattista Tiepolo and Giovanni Antonio Guardi.