TRAVI, Antonio
(b. 1608, Sestri Ponente, d. 1665, Sestri Ponente)


Italian painter and etcher. He worked with Bernardo Strozzi, first as a servant grinding colours and then as a pupil who, like Giovanni Andrea de' Ferrari, copied Strozzi's work in the early 1620s. However, whereas Ferrari was a figure painter, Travi is best known for his landscapes. This expertise is thought to have been acquired from Strozzi's friend the landscape painter Goffredo Wals, whose presence in Genoa is documented in 1623. Wals's delicately painted, circular landscapes with small figures may have stimulated Travi but, before turning to landscapes, the latter aspired to paint large figured compositions, for example his Marriage of St Catherine (1629; Sestri Ponente parish church) in the manner of Strozzi and Ansaldo. Another large figure composition, the Adoration of the Shepherds (c. 1630; Genoa, Palazzo Bianco), shows figures more in keeping with those inhabiting his landscapes; they derive from Sinibaldo Scorza and Cornelis de Wael and emphasize Travi's study under Strozzi, whose own interest in north European art is visible in his treatment of the same subject (Oxford, Ashmolean Museum).

Antonio Travi is the first true painter of the Ligurian coastal landscape. He created his own language, which included backgrounds with ruined buildings and narrative scenes with colourful small-scale figures. Genoa and the Ligurian coastline provided abundant material for maritime subjects, and the artist filled his foregrounds with fishing scenes, small boats and towing.

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