(b. 1709, Forno di Canale, d. 1784, Treviso)
Italian painter, born in Forno di Canale (now Canale d'Agordo), near Belluno. He may have served an apprenticeship in Belluno before moving, probably around 1725-30, to Venice, where he practised as a landscape painter for nearly 50 years. The first and most important influence on his art was that of Marco Ricci, also from Belluno, who was in Venice from 1717 until his death in 1729. Ricci's etchings, published in 1730, provided Zais with a useful source of inspiration. From them he derived the scenographic format of his landscapes, usually framed by clumps of trees into which villages and figures of peasants were inserted, painted in a thick impasto of rich colour. The result is a pleasing, simplified style of great descriptive power. However, this attractive facility can also be seen as a limitation, for Zais never achieved Ricci's dramatic effects. Zais's contact with Francesco Zuccarelli in the early 1730s softened Ricci's influence and introduced an increased refinement into his work, although sometimes at the risk of affectation.