Alessandro Magnasco


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(b Genoa, 4 Feb. 1667; d Genoa, 12 Mar. 1749).

Italian painter, known as Lissandrino (Little Alessandro) on account of his small stature. Although he was born and died in Genoa, he spent most of his working life in Milan. At the beginning of his career he was a portraitist, but virtually nothing is known of this aspect of his career. Later he turned to the type of work for which he is now known—highly individual melodramatic scenes set in storm-tossed landscapes, ruins, convents, and gloomy monasteries, peopled with small, elongated figures of monks, nuns, gypsies, mercenaries, witches, beggars, and inquisitors. His brushwork is nervous and flickering and his lighting effects macabre. He was prolific and his work is rarely dated or datable. Marco Ricci and Francesco Guardi were among the artists influenced by him.

Subjects: Art.

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