ANSALDO, Giovanni Andrea
(b. 1584, Voltri, d. 1638, Genova)


Italian painter. His first teacher was Orazio Cambiaso, son of Luca Cambiaso, from whom he learnt the principles of design and acquired his proficiency in the use of colour. Ansaldo's appreciation of colour must also have owed something to Veronese, whose works he copied as a student. Orazio Cambiaso's large canvas of St James Converting Josiah (c. 1600; Genoa, Oratory of S Giacomo delle Fucine) is one of many sources for Ansaldo's multi-figured and highly detailed compositions, set in a deep architectural space. The elegant figures and subtle tonalities of his early works are derived also from the work of Tuscan Mannerist artists in Genoa, such as Pietro Sorri (1556-1621), Ventura Salimbeni and Aurelio Lomi (1556-1622). The sumptuous draperies and strong chiaroscuro contrasts of Giovanni Battista Paggi, who had adopted the Tuscan manner after a period in Florence, influenced Ansaldo, as did the rich impasto of Bernardo Strozzi and Simone Barabbino (b 1585).

In the 1620s the work of the more progressive Lombard artists Cerano and Giulio Cesare Procaccini, who visited the city between 1618 and 1621, had an impact on his art. Ansaldo was also indebted to the realism of the colony of Flemish artists who worked in Genoa at this time. From such rich sources he created a style justly described as 'elegant in design, well founded in perspective, intelligent in sotto in sù, expressive in effects, and soft and gentle in colouring.'