MIGLIARA, Giovanni
(b. 1785, Alessandria, d. 1837, Milano)


Italian painter and teacher. He began his career as a scene painter with Gaspare Galiari (1761-1823) in Milan, working at the Teatro Carcano in 1804 and at La Scala from 1805 to 1809. Owing to illness, after 1810 he turned to small-scale works in watercolour or oil using various supports, including silk and ivory. At this date Milanese painting was dominated by Andrea Appiani and Luigi Sabatelli, both leading Neo-classical artists. However, Migliara remained aloof from this dominant movement and instead drew on medieval and historical subjects with Romantic undertones. His precise, jewel-like technique and choice of subject-matter found favour with aristocratic patrons in Milan. His figures are generally stilted and burdened by their costumes, though the crowd in Sacking of Minister Prina's House (1814; Milan, Galleria d'Arte Moderna) is depicted with unusual fluency.

In 1822 Migliara was appointed Professor of Perspective at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Milan, and in 1833 he was nominated painter to the court of Charles-Albert, King of Sardinia (reg 1831-49). More typical of his historical scenes is Entrance to the Castle of Plessis de la Tour (Turin, Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna), which was exhibited at the Brera in 1833. He also produced many topographically precise pictures of church interiors in which he combined his training as a scene painter with his knowledge of intaglio techniques. In such pen-and-wash studies as Church and Gothic Tomb (1831; Turin, Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna) he displayed a greater sensitivity to light and tone than in his oil paintings (e.g. Vestibule of a Convent, 1833; Alessandria, Pinacoteca Civica). He particularly excelled as a painter of small medieval church interiors, as did several of his pupils, including his daughter Teodolinda Migliara (1816-66), Frederico Moja, Pompeo Calvi (1806-84), Luigi Bisi (1814-86) and Angelo Inganni (1806-80).

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