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Artistic period 1701 to 1750




1666 (Verona)


1740 (Verona)


Antonio Balestra (* 12. August 1666 in Verona; † 21. April 1740 ebenda) was an Italian painter, draughtsman and engraver of the Baroque.

Balestra was the son of a wealthy merchant and studied humanistic sciences such as literature and rhetoric, but also had drawing lessons with Giovanni Zeffis (died 1688). From 1687 he was in Venice, where he was a pupil of Antonio Bellucci (1654-1726) for three years. In 1691 he went to Rome to the studio of Carlo Maratta, whose late Baroque classicism also influenced his painting. Further influences in Rome were Annibale Carracci and Domenichino. In 1694 he won a prize in the competition of the Accademia di San Luca for the drawing The Fall of the Giants. In 1695 he was back in his hometown Verona, where he founded his own school, but he also worked in Venice and had pupils there.

His pupils in Verona included Pietro Rotari and Giambettino Cignaroli, in Venice Giuseppe Nogari, Mattia Bortoloni, Angelo Trevisani, Rosalba Carriera and he also influenced Pietro Longhi, who worked briefly with him, and Giambattista Pittoni.

Balestra mainly painted mythological and religious themes. In Venice he painted for the churches of Gesuiti (Jesuit Church, Madonna with Saints) and San Zaccaria and the Scuola della Carita. In Bologna he painted for the Church of Sant Ignazio (Virgin with Child with St. Ignatius and St. Stanislas) and he also painted for churches in Verona (Church of San Teresa degli Scalzi, Annunciation), Vicenza, Brescia and Padua (San Giustino, Miracle of Saints Cosmas and Damian).

An autobiographical manuscript is in the Biblioteca Augusta in Perugia (Manoscritto autobiografico inviato all Abate Antonio Pellegrino).