Gioacchino Assereto, Genoa 1600 - 1649 Genoa

  • Gioacchino Assereto

    Genoa 1600 - 1649 Genoa

Gioacchino Assereto is a significant protagonist of the Genoese Baroque, whose dramatic style, according to his biographer Raffaele Soprani, “seemed new to the eyes of all.” Inspired by his fellow Genoese artist Bernardo Strozzi, as well as by the work of Lombard painters including Cerano, Morazzone, and Giulio Cesare Procaccini, Assereto’s earliest paintings are distinguished by their silvery colouring and stark contrasts of light and dark, together with the powerful realism and vitality with which he depicted saints and other subjects. In 1639 Assereto visited Rome, where he saw the works Caravaggio and his followers, including Gerrit van Honthorst and Matthias Stomer. Returning to Genoa, Assereto continued to evolve his powerful style in which violent emotions were heightened by the theatrical effects of flaming torches and candlelight. His robust and muscular figure style of the 1640s suggests the influence of Rubens. The sober realism, penetrating psychological tension between figures, and the beauty of the still-life elements found in Assereto’s works have invited comparisons with Velázquez and Murillo, and in compositions with figures softly modelled in broad brushstrokes of brown colour, he is said to approach the poetic expressiveness of Rembrandt.


Gioacchino Assereto
Cain Slaying Abel, c. 1640–50
Oil on canvas
180 x 138 cm (70.8 x 54.3 in.)
With frame: 195 x 154 x 9 cm (76 3/4 x 60 5/8 x 3 1/2 in.)