(b. 1556, Melos, d. 1629, Venezia)


Italian painter of Greek descent (called Il Aliense). He arrived in Venice not later than 1571, when his father was supplying provisions to the Venetian fleet. It is unlikely that he had received any artistic training in Greece; probably his first teacher was Paolo Veronese, in whose workshop in Venice he was involved in the copying of drawings and paintings. In 1574, together with Veronese and Tintoretto, he was employed decorating the triumphal arch (destroyed) erected on the Venice Lido, after designs by Andrea Palladio, for the arrival of Henry III, King of France. He worked with Benedetto Caliari on the frescoes in the bishop's residence at Treviso (c. 1579) and, with Dario Varotari, on the decoration of the Villa Emo Capodilista at Montecchia, near Padua. In these works he adopted the dramatic chiaroscuro effects of Tintoretto, rather than following the painterly effects of his master, Veronese; of all Venetian Mannerists he followed Tintoretto most closely.

He painted in all the major halls of the Doge's Palace in Venice, such as the Hall of the Grand Council (Sala del Maggior Consiglio), the Voting Hall (Sala dello Scrutinio), the Hall of the Senate (Sala del Senato), the Hall of the Council of Ten (Sala del Consiglio dei Dieci), the Hall of the Compass (Sala della Bussola).

In 1586, Vassilacchi painted one of his largest pictures, the Resurrection, in the chancel of San Marziale. In 1591 he was working in the church of San Giovanni Elemosinario, just a few metres from the commercial centre of Venice, the Rialto. He painted the Plague of Serpents (1588) in the Church of the Angelo San Raffaele. Behind the façade of the church of San Zaccaria, at least four large works by Aliense are preserved.

He died on Easter Saturday, 1629, in his seventy-third year. He was buried with honours in the church of San Vitale on the following day, Easter Sunday.