August 12, 1666|
May 21, 1740 (aged 73)|
Born in Verona, he first apprenticed there with Giovanni Zeffio. By 1690 he moved to Venice, where he worked for three years under Antonio Bellucci, then moved to Bologna and then to paint in Carlo Maratta's workshop in Rome. In 1694, he won a prize from the Accademia di San Luca. He later painted both in Verona and Venice; although his influence was stronger in the mainland. His pupils in Verona were Pietro Rotari and Giambettino Cignaroli. In Venice, he painted for the churches of the I Gesuiti and San Zaccaria, and the Scuola della Carita. Pietro Longhi briefly worked under Balestra. In Venice, other pupils or painters he influenced, included Mariotti, Giuseppe Nogari, Mattia Bortoloni and Angelo Trevisani. Also he influenced a young Giambattista Pittoni. Among his pupils from Verona were Domenico Pecchio, Domenico Bertini, and Carlo Salis.
In painting, Balestra was staid and reactionary. Wittkower quotes the distaste of Balestra in 1733 for the tendency of then-modern painters to deviate from enshrined standards of academic painting:
All the present evil derives from the pernicious habit, generally accepted, of working from the imagination without having first learned how to draw after good models and compose in accordance with good maxims. No longer does one see young artists studying the antique; on the contrary, we have come to a point where such study is derided as useless and obnoxious.
He painted a Virgin and Infant, with Saints Ignatius and Stanislaus Kostka for the church of Sant'Ignazio at Bologna. He also painted for churches of Venice, Vicenza, Padua, Brescia, and Verona. In prints, he etched a Head of a Warrior, Virgin Mary and Infant in the Clouds, with Two Soldiers; Vignette, with two figures holding a Flag of Verona, and a Portrait of an Architect
- Trinity, Castelvecchio
- La ricchezza della terra, Trento
- David and Goliath, Carrara Academy, Bergamo
- The Miracle of Saint Nicholas, City Museum, Busseto
- The Death of Abel (between 1701 and 1704)
- The Holy Family, National Gallery, Prague]
- Portrait of Doge Alvise III, Duchal Palace, Venice
- Adoration of the Magi (1707), Jalinch Collection, Zagreb
- The Annunciation, Church of San Tommaso, Verona
- Madonna and Saints, Church of Santa Maria in Organo, Verona
- A replica is now at the Pinacoteca civica di Forlì
- Saint Oswald, Church of San Stae, Venice
- Apollo and Midas, Palazzo Pizzini, Rovereto
- Santa Giustina (Saint Justine) church, Padua
- Adoration of Shepherds
- Martyr of Saints Cosmas and Damian (1717-1718)
- Theseus Discovering his Father's Sword
- Vision of the Virgin, alongside St Joseph, granting the scapular to Blessed Simone Stock (around 1725) San Marco in San Girolamo, Vicenza
- San Luigi Gonzaga in preghiera davanti alla Vergine (1745), San Luigi Gonzaga Basilica, Castiglione delle Stiviere
- Miracle of St Dominic
- Prophet Isaiah
- Saint Francis in Ecstasy, Museo de Castelvecchio, Verona
- Madonna with Saints Andrew and Gregory (1734), San Gregorio al Celio, Rome
- Frescoes at the villa of Alessandro Pompei
- The Sacrifice of Isaac, sanguine on blue paper, LACMA, Los Angeles County Fund (54 12.7)
- Bernasconi, Cesare (1864). Studj sopra la storia della pittura italiana dei secoli xiv e xv e della scuola pittorica. (Google Books)
- Bryan, Michael (1886). Robert Edmund Graves, ed. Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, Biographical and Critical. London: George Bell and Sons. pp. 73–74.
- Wittkower, Rudolph (1980). Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600-1750. Penguin Books. pp. 461, 483–484.
- Lilli Ghio - Edi Baccheschi, Antonio Balestra, Ed. Bolis, 1989
- U. Ruggeri, Nuove opere documentate di Antonio Balestra, in Pittura veneziana dal Quattrocento al Settecento: studi di storia dell'arte in onore di Egidio Martini, a cura di G. M. Pilo, Venezia 1999
- G. Fossaluzza, Antonio Arrigoni "pittore in istoria", tra Molinari, Ricci, Balestra e Pittoni, in "Saggi e memorie di storia dell'arte", 21, 1997
- Bernasconi, p 372.
- Wittkower, Chapter 19, p 483–4.
- Bernasconi, Cesare (1864). Painting Studi sopra la storia della pittura italiana dei secoli xiv e xv e della scuola pittorica veronese dai medi tempi fino tutto il secolo xviii. Googlebooks. p. 369.
- Wittkower, Chapter 19, p 461.
- San Luigi Gonzaga - The basilica (in Italian)
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