Bernardo Strozzi, Genova 1581 - 1644 Venezia
The powerful and painterly canvases of Bernardo Strozzi, celebrated for their radiant colours and broad, vigorous brushwork, made him one of the leading painters in seventeenth-century Genoa and then Venice. Born in Genoa, Strozzi briefly studied painting with the Sienese master Pietro Sorri before entering the Capuchin monastery of San Barnaba in 1598, earning him the nickname “Il Cappuccino”. Strozzi was granted permission to leave the monastery in 1610 to care for his sickly mother and unwed sister, and during this time he continued to paint. He never returned to religious life, instead relocating to Venice in 1630 where he became known as “Il prete Genovese”. Although his style was initially indebted to the late Tuscan mannerism of Sorri, Ventura Salimbeni, and Aurelio Lomi, all active in Genoa, Strozzi forged a highly personal and instantly recognizable style, combining the models of his early years with the vivid colors of Rubens and Procaccini as well as the tenebrism and naturalism of the Caravaggesque painters who visited or whose work made its way to Genoa.