(b. ca. 1580, Riale d'Alagna, d. ca. 1632, Varallo)


Italian painter. He is best known for his dramatic oil paintings executed in a unique style of Caravaggesque realism modified by the elegance of Lombard Late Mannerism. He also adopted elements of a robust and unsophisticated realism from Piedmontese art.

Tanzio da Varallo may have first trained in his father's sculpture workshop and with his brother, a fresco painter. From 1616 to 1620, Tanzio and his sculptor brother decorated two chapels in the Sacro Monte at Varallo with stage-like tableaux-vivants. Using freestanding terracotta sculptures combined with vivid frescoes, they illustrated scenes from Christ's passion.

In his drawings, Tanzio displayed the highly refined and meticulously finished technique associated with Renaissance draftsmanship. The plasticity of his drapery studies reflected his experience with sculpture. He displayed the height of his drama and emotion in paintings such as his vast Battle of Sennacherib of 1629, in which contorted figures lit by violent slashes of unnatural light crowd the foreground.