Alessandro Tiarini

Big Baroque Gestures

Sack of Troy, by Tiarini

Orphaned as a child and raised by an aunt, Bolognese Alessandro Tiarini (1577–1668) was the godson of Lavinia Fontana and pupil of her father Prospero Fontana. After the latter's death in 1597, he failed to enter the Carracci Academy and worked instead with Bartolomeo Cesi.

After being involved in a violent brawl (some say he left a man dead), Tiarini fled to Florence in 1599 where he worked around several Tuscan towns before Ludovico Carracci personally invited him to return. He was noted for large, dramatic compositions, and later fell under the influence of Caravaggio and Guercino. He spent many years on the frescoes of Madonna della Ghiara in Reggio Emilia, and died in Bologna.

He is well represented in his hometown, with paintings in San Domenico (his most famous work, St. Dominic resuscitating a child), San Petronio, Santa Maria dei Servi, San Salvatore and San Benedetto. Some of his finest works are in the Pinacoteca Nazionale: the Death of the Virgin, the Lamentation, and Woman with a Dog.

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