Giovanni Battista Crespi

(c. 1575—1632)

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(b ?Cerano, nr. Novara, c.1575; d Milan, 23 Oct. 1632).

Italian painter, sculptor, engraver, architect, and writer, active mainly in Milan, where he was one of the leading artists of his time. He had settled there by the late 1590s, probably following a period in Rome, and became a protégé of Cardinal Federico Borromeo (cousin of St Charles Borromeo). Borromeo, who was archbishop of Milan and an important art patron, appointed Crespi head of the painting section of the Accademia Ambrosiana, which he founded in 1620, and in 1629 put him in charge of the sculptural decoration of Milan Cathedral. Crespi's paintings, often mystical in feeling, are complex stylistically: there is a strong Mannerist current in his colouring and in the elegant posturing of his figures, but his work also shows a solidity and a feeling for realistic details that give it a place in the vanguard of the Baroque.

Subjects: Art.

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