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Antonio Zanchi (Este 1631 - Venice 1722)

Zanchi was born at Este on 6 December 1631. He received his first training in the town of his birth from Giacomo Predali, but moved later to Venice to study with Matteo Ponzone. There he was captivated by Tintoretto’s huge canvases and came under the influence of the Roman painter Francesco Ruschi. The first documented work by Zanchi is the design of the title page of an opera libretto, that of Statira by G. F. Busenello, published in Venice in 1655.
He showed a great interest in the painting of Luca Giordano and Giovanni Battista Langetti, which helped him to define his own style, characterized by a strongly accentuated realism and dramatic chiaroscuro effects. He thus became a prominent representative of the “tenebrists” and was one of the most admired artists working in Venice. Examples from his output during the 1660s include the canvases painted to decorate Palazzo Albrizzi in Venice (Samson and Delilah, Alexander and the Body of Darius) and the monumental Plague in Venice in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco (1666). Other important examples from this period can be found in several Venetian churches and schools (scole). The fame he achieved during these years brought him many commissions for the Elector’s court in Munich, among them some works for the Residenz and a monumental altarpiece for the Theatinerkirche (destroyed in 1944). He died in Venice on 12 April 1722.


Alessandro Zuccari