PIOLA, Paolo Gerolamo
(b. 1666, Genova, d. 1724, Genova)


Italian painter, part of a family of artist, son of Domenico Piola. He worked with his father in a workshop cooperative, the "Casa Piola." Like his father, Paolo Gerolamo was among the most important artists of Genoa and participated in numerous commissions to decorate the city's churches and palaces.

He worked with his father from an early age and learnt his style. In 1689 he painted frescoes for the Loggia delle Rovine in the Palazzo Brignole (Palazzo Rosso, Genoa) showing Legends of Diana and Endymion. The pale luminous colours, the light fluent forms and the skill in composition are reminiscent of his father's work. From 1690 to 1694 he was in Rome as a protégé of the Marchese Niccolò Pallavicini for whom his father was then working. He attended the workshop of the sculptor Camillo Rusconi and studied, under the direction of Carlo Maratti, the paintings of Raphael, the Carracci and of Maratti himself.

By the time he returned to Genoa, at his father's request, to rejoin the family workshop he had thoroughly imbibed the increasingly fashionable classical idiom. Father and son produced frescoes for San Luca in Genoa (begun 1695), and Paolo Gerolamo went on to fulfil numerous fresco commissions, both religious and secular. Examples of his work, frequently done in collaboration with Lorenzo Costa and all in Genoa, can be seen in Santa Maria Maddalena (St Francesco da Paola Surrounded by Three Angels) and elsewhere. In the Palazzo Ferretti, again with Costa, he painted a fresco of the Council of the Gods, with Jupiter Giving Mercury the Golden Apple. In the Palazzo Sauli, this time with Giovan Battista Ravello, he painted a series of mythological scenes, including Hercules and Io, Endymion and Diana, Bacchus and Ariadne and Pan and Syrinx. The figures in all of these frescoes are portrayed in noble and classical attitudes, combining the grace of Maratti with the noble rhetoric of Rusconi's sculptures. This modification of the Roman gran maniera to fit the Genoese decorative tradition was typical of his work.

On the death of his father, Paolo Gerolamo assumed charge of the Casa Piola and continued to receive prestigious commissions. In 1718 he painted the frescoes for the Torre Chapel in Santa Maria della Consolazione, Genoa, and in 1722, in collaboration with Costa, he frescoed the vaults of the Sala Reni and Sala van Dyck in the Palazzo Durazzo Pallavicini, Genoa. His paintings on canvas include the Virgin with SS Domenico, Ignatius and Catherine (Genoa, Santa Maria Assunta di Carignano).

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