By Martina Tanga

Gioacchino Asserto, an early baroque painter from Genoa, died on 28 June 1649. Dramatic compositions and vibrant light effects characterize Asserto’s pictures.

He was very inspired by the paintings of Caravaggio and he studied them first hand on a trip to Rome in 1939. Asserto’s repertoire includes mostly biblical scenes, fitting for the Counter-Reformation at its height at this time. He re-interpreted these familiar stories, depicting figures in contemporary dress, and fulfilling the Catholic Church’s doctrine that art should make viewers see and feel every aspect of the life and death of Christ. He was young when he died – only 49 – but throughout his life he was enormously prolific, and his paintings can now be found in major institutions around the world.

The Angel Appears to Hagar and Ishmael, 1640, Oil on Canvas, National Gallery, London, UK.

The Lamentation (The Pieta), c. 1640, oil on canvas, Cummer Museum, Florida.

Mocking of Job, 1645-50, Oil on canvas, Szépmûvészeti Múzeum, Budapest.

Tobias Healing the Blindness of His Father, c. 1645, Oil on canvas, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Marseille.

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