CANAVESIO, Giovanni
(b. ca. 1451, Pinerolo, d. after 1500)

Biography

Italian painter and priest. He was born in Piedmont, and was active in Liguria and on the French side of the Alps. The 1450 workshop archives in Pinerolo (where he was registered as a "master artist") state that he traveled a great deal along the Maritime Alps, signing and dating his works.

He was commissioned for large fresco cycles whose pictorial representations were taught as "Biblia Pauperorum" for the use of the faithful. The frescoes were sometimes accompanied by requests for polyptychs to decorate the altars.

Among the fresco cycles executed by Canavesio in Liguria, that in the church of San Bernardo in Pigna (1482) with scenes of the Passion and the Last Judgment and the heraldic fresco (1477) at the bishop's palace of Albenga should be mentioned.

His most important work is the grandiose cycle of fresco paintings (1491), in the Chapel of Notre Dame des Fontaines near La Brigue, at the intersection of Savoyard, Provençal, and Genoese territories. Here we find in the triumphal arch the Scenes of the Life of the Virgin and Childhood of Christ, while the Passion of Christ occupies the two walls of the aisle, and Last Judgment occupies the inside of the entrance wall.

Among the surviving polyptychs are the Virgin and Child with Saints in the Galleria Sabauda, Turin; one in the church of the convent of San Domenico in Taggia (Imperia) (1472), and another in the church of Santi Giuseppe e Floriano in Verderio Superiore (Lecco) (1499). A recently restored polyptych, dated 1500 is in the parish church of San Michele in Pigna (Imperia).