CASSANA, Niccolò
(b. 1659, Venezia, d. 1714, London)


Italian painter. He was apprenticed to his father, the Genoese painter Giovanni Francesco Cassana (1611-1690), and from him learnt to paint in the tenebrist style. In 1684 he was enrolled in the guild of Venetian painters. After the death of Justus Sustermans (1681), the official portraitist of the Medici court, Cassana tried to win favour by sending a Self-Portrait (1683) to Florence to form part of the collection of self-portraits in the Uffizi. Yet this work, the earliest example of his prolific output as a portrait painter, was rejected and relegated to the gallery's storeroom. Few of his numerous early portraits for the Venetian nobility and clergy survive; some are known through engravings. Among those that have been identified are those of a Notary (Venice, Palazzo Ducale), Giambattista Doria (Venice, Correr) and various others.

Having painted portraits of the Florentine court, and also of some of the English nobility, he was invited to England, and introduced to Queen Anne, who sat to him for her likeness, and conferred on him many marks of favour. He died in London in 1714, having given way to drinking in his later years.

One of his pupils was Fortunato Pasquetti.