Giovanni Antonio Fumiani

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Abraham and the Three Angels, oil on canvas, 129 x 183 cm. Private collection

Giovanni Antonio Fumiani (1645–1710) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period.

Ceiling at San Pantalon.

Born in Venice in 1645, he trained in Bologna under Domenico degli Ambrogi, a specialist in quadratura, but by 1668 he was back in Venice, where he painted a Virgin and Saints in San Benedetto.[disambiguation needed] He was influenced by Ludovico Carracci and Alessandro Tiarini, and soon also became interested in the work of Paolo Veronese, so that he started to use elaborate architectural settings and brighter colours. He painted a Virgin Appearing to Pius V (1674; Vicenza, S Lorenzo), whose monumentality foreshadows Tiepolo, whereas mosaics in San Marco, created in 1677 from Fumiani’s cartoons, are closer to the idiosyncratic art of Pietro della Vecchia. He contributed to the decoration of San Rocco (1675, 1676, 1678), where he painted a large canvas of the Charity of St Roch on the ceiling of the nave, In his smaller paintings, however, such as the modelli (Florence, Uffizi) painted for the patron Ferdinand de Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscany, for whom he worked for a long time, with Niccolò Cassana acting as intermediary, Fumiani revealed a lively decorative sense and a taste for animated, sensual subjects that produced works of great quality. His last work is the large lunette depicting Frederick III visiting St Zachary’s Convent in the Company of the Doge (Venice, San Zaccaria).

The decoration of San Pantalon with scenes from the Life of St Pantaleon (1680–1704) utilized canvases to cover a large ceiling (25x50 m), an ambitious undertaking, both in its scale and in the unity of the magniloquent images, that parallels Andrea Pozzo’s decoration at the church of Sant'Ignazio in Rome. Fumiani was responsible for painting what is claimed to the largest painting on canvas in the world and covers the whole of the ceiling of the church Chiesa di San Pantaleone Martire, known as San Pantalon, in Venice. The painting depicts The Martyrdom and Apotheosis of St Pantalon, which he painted from 1680 until 1704. He putatively died from a fall from a scaffold, although some sources date his death to six years after he stopped work on the canvas.

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