The style and the author

The fresco in Santa Caterina

Venetian painter of the first half of the 17th century, Annunciation and Last Supper, Padova, Santa Caterina (Arcadia Ricerche, 2009)


Nothing certain can be said about the author of the work, who has not left a signature and is not mentioned in the preserved payment documents. A reading of the style makes it possible to link his training to the late Mannerist artistic culture in vogue between the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century, as evidenced by the idea, common at the time, to frame the scenes with an illusionistic frame painted to simulate stucco reliefs and moldings. An aspect, this one, that goes back to the contemporary Padovan pictorial tradition, both religious and secular and expressed to the highest degree in the decoration of the private buildings of the most important families of the city, as the comparisons here proposed suggest.

G.B. Bissoni

G.B. Bissoni, Marco Lando presentato alla Vergine; i santi Prosdocimo e Giustina; i santi Antonio e Daniele, Padova, Musei Civici agli Eremitani (from the oratory of Saints Marco Vitale and Elisabetta in Ca' Lando)


Palazzo Abriani
Venetian painter of the first half of the XVII century, «Et in adversa», Padova, Palazzo Abriani (from Affreschi nei palazzi di Padova. Il Sei e Settecento, 2018)

Palazzo Obizzi
Stucco frame with con Episode of Roman History, Padova, Palazzo Obizzi (from Affreschi nei palazzi di Padova. Il Sei e Settecento, 2018)

The author of the fresco of S. Caterina was therefore a painter capable of grasping the artistic novelties of his time, but he applied them in a simple and somewhat less elaborate language, as a follower rather than an innovator.

Even with these considerations, the close observation of the painting during the restoration has allowed us to detect some discrepancies in its realization: details rendered in a faster and more summary manner are flanked by more accurate and faithful details in the representation of reality, the anatomy of the human body, the folds of the clothes and the play of light and shadow.

It is therefore probable that two masters were simultaneously at work, who divided the production according to a usual organization within the pictorial workshops of the period.


San Pietro San Giovanni

Detail Detail

Detail of the dress Detail of the dress

Venetian painter of the first half of the 17th century, Annunciation and  Last Supper, Padova, the complex of Santa Caterina, details in comparison: on the left the ones by the workshop; on the right the ones by the leading painter (Arcadia Ricerche, 2009)