Alessandro Tiarini

1577 - 1668

Place Born


Place Died



The artist’s formative years are undocumented. According to Malvasia, he was first the pupil of Lavinia Fontana and later of Prospero Fontana, in whose studio he remained until that artist’s death in 1597. Tiarini then studied under Bartolomeo Cesi, attending the Accademia del Baldi, having failed to become a pupil of Ludovico Carracci. After a fight, he fled to Florence in 1599, probably remaining there until 1606. He is documented there as a painter in 1602, becoming first the pupil and later the collaborator of Domenico Cresti, called II Passignano, with whom Ludovico had studied two decades earlier. Tiarini is traditionally supposed to have returned to his native Bologna in 1606, perhaps at the request of Ludovico. Works executed shortly after this date, such as The Martyrdom of Saint Barbara, (Bologna, San Petronio) and his Assumption of the Virgin of 1611 (Budrio, San Domenico), show his Florentine tendencies changing under the impact of his renewed contact with Ludovico Carracci. These formed the basis for Tiarini’s mature output and his particular interest in perspective and architecturally staged settings. After the frescoes (still influenced by Tuscan Art) depicting Stories from the Life of Saint Charles Borromeo of c. 1611 (Bologna, San Michele in Bosco), an important step in the artist’s career is represented by the fresco of Saint Domenic Disinterring the Disobedient Monk from 1613, in which Tiarini combines a dramatic story in a forceful composition with elements of Ludovico’s naturalistic and lyrical style.

Between 1614-16, Tiarini executed the huge canvas of St. Domenic Resuscitating a Dead Girl (Bologna, San Domenico) in which the Caravaggesque vein first evident in his Santa Francesca Romana of 1613-14 (Bologna, San Michele in Bosco) appears once more. Tiarini’s position as one of the very foremost Bolognese painters was confirmed in 1617 by his Pietà (Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale) in which he shows a capacity for assimilating the styles of the Parmese painters (such as Sisto Badalocchio and Bartolomeo Schedoni) at an early date, as well as of the Ferrarese (Scarsellino and Carlo Bononi) and this was to guarantee him immediate success as an artist in Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Faenza, Bologna, Mantua and Cremona, but above all in Reggio Emilia. There, in collaboration with Bononi, Gavasetti, Luca Ferrari and Guercino, he embarked on the decoration of the Brami Chapel in the sanctuary of Santa Maria della Ghiara . Up to this point, Tiarini had managed to retain his own personal style, uninfluenced by contemporary Bolognese artists, but gradually, perhaps as a result of repeated visits to Bologna, he softens and lightens his palette in response to Guido Reni’s development and the Venetian influence of Veronese, and his output consequently declines in forcefulness. Tiarini’s last documented work is his Guardian Angel of 1653 (formerly at Monte Cavallo near Reggio, but now missing). The artist’s last years were spent teaching in Count Ghislieri’s Academy and in collaborating with Malvasia on the writing of Felsina pittrice, for which the artist proved to be an important source of information.

Art Works Sold

The Death of the Virgin

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Historical Period: 1600-1720 Baroque
The Death of the Virgin