By Livia Lupi
Giovanni Andrea Ansaldo died in Genoa on 18 August 1638. He was born in Voltri, near Genoa, in 1584 and studied painting with Orazio Cambiaso, son of Luca. Giovanni Andrea was heavily influenced by the work of Paolo Veronese, Flemish artists like Rubens and Van Dyck, and by his friend Bernardo Strozzi, a fellow Genoese who also worked in Venice.
One of Giovanni Andrea’s first works was the Beheading of St John the Baptist, followed by other numerous religious paintings, like the Flight to Egypt and St Ambrose and Emperor Theodosius. He also worked on historical subject matters, like the crowning of Ferdinando de’ Medici.
The decoration of the dome in the church of the Santissima Annunziata del Vastato in Genoa is one of Giovanni Andrea’s last works, and is considered his masterpiece. The dome was frescoed between 1635 and 1638 and depicts the Assumption of the Virgin to Heaven, with the four Evangelists in the spandrels at the bottom and God the Father at the top of the dome. This is the first baroque representation of the Assumption in Genoa.
Reference: Mario Labò, “Ansaldo, Giovanni Andrea,” Dizionario Biografico Treccani.
“Strozzi, Bernardo,” Enciclopedia Treccani.
Further reading: Margherita Priarone. Giovanni Andrea Ansaldo, 1584-1638. Genoa: Sagep Editori, 2011
Beheading of St John the Baptist, c.1615, oil on canvas, Parochial church in Recco.
St Ambrose and Emperor Theodosius, 1620s?, oil on canvas, Sant’Ambrogio a Voltri, Genoa.
Flight to Egypt, 1620s, oil on canvas, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome.
Allegory of the Crowning of Ferdinando II de’ Medici, 1629, oil on canvas, Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence.
Dome, 1635-1638, fresco, Santissima Annunziata del Vastato, Genoa.