(1698–1767). Italian painter, born in Milan, but active mainly in Bergamo and Brescia. Although he painted religious works and history paintings, his main activity was in portrait painting and genre. His portraits have a striking objectivity and an engaging if provincial lack of artifice. His genre paintings consist of somewhat prettified but essentially realistic and sympathetic scenes of vagabonds (pitocchi), peasants, beggars, and other humble types—for instance I due disgraziati (Brescia, Pin. Civ. Tosio-Martinengo). In 1726–8 Ceruti was commissioned by Andrea Memmo, Governor of Brescia, to paint seventeen pictures of important local worthies to decorate the Palazzo di Broletto, Brescia, but these were dispersed at the end of the century. In 1736 he delivered a series of portraits, beggar pictures (including Tre pitocchi; Madrid, Thyssen Mus.), to Johann Mattias von Schulenburg, Marshal of the Venetian Republic. More unusually, Schulenburg's commission also included two vividly executed still lifes: a Still Life of Fish, Lobster, and Oysters (priv. coll.) and a Still Life with Game (Kassel, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen). Ceruti worked in Milan and Piacenza during the 1740s, but his later years are not well documented.
From The Oxford Companion to Western Art in Oxford Reference.