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Bernard Aikema

[Giannantonio]

(b Venice, April 29, 1675; d Venice, Nov 5, 1741).

Italian painter. With Sebastiano Ricci and Jacopo Amigoni he was the most important Venetian history painter of the early 18th century. By uniting the High Renaissance style of Paolo Veronese with the Baroque of Pietro da Cortona and Luca Giordano, he created graceful decorations that were particularly successful with the aristocracy of central and northern Europe. He travelled widely, working in Austria, England, the Netherlands, Germany and France.

His father, a glover, came from Padua. At an early age Pellegrini was apprenticed to the Milanese Paolo Pagani (1661–1716), with whom he travelled to Moravia and Vienna in 1690. In 1696 Pellegrini was back in Venice, where he painted his first surviving work, a fresco cycle in the Palazzetto Corner on Murano, with scenes from the life of Alexander the Great and allegorical themes on the ceiling. Here his figure style is clearly derived from Pagani, but the effects of light and the free handling suggest the art of Giordano or even Cortona, whose work Pellegrini could not then have known. By contrast, brushwork in a series of paintings of the ...