Giovanni Battista Benaschi

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Giovanni Battista Benaschi, or Beinaschi, (1636–1688) was an Italian painter and engraver active in the Mannerist style.


He was born in Turin. He first trained in the Piedmont, under a painter by the name of Spirito, then was the main pupil of Pietro dal Po in Rome.

Titi gave some details of his activity in Rome and he mentioned the following works: the Annunciation, the Crucifixion and the St. Michael who Defeats the Rebel Angels in St. Bonaventure at the Palatine; the frescoed Fortress in a vault of the left aisle of St. Carlo al Corso; the two paintings depicting Daniel in the Lions' Ditch and the Resurrection of Lazarus, the frescoes with the Eternal Father in Glory and the Assumption in the choir of S. Maria del Suffragio (dating to shortly after 1662). Some other work performed for private individuals and today no longer traceable were mentioned in the Lives of Pascoli.[1]

In the paintings mentioned above he showed a marked influence of Lanfranco's painting, although Benaschi could not have studied under the master, since Lanfranco died in 1647. The master's influence persisted and was enriched with new ideas during his stay in Naples, which began around 1664, the year in which he decorated, with a Life of San Nicola, the little church of St. Nicola alla Dogana that no longer exists today.

As did many other aspiring artists, Benaschi draw from the Carracci frescoes from the Farnese Gallery, from the statues in the Belvedere at the Vatican Palace, paintings from San Carlo de' Catinari and the works of Lanfranco from the church of Sant Andrea della Valle.[2] Among his patrons were Giovanni Battista Cesalassi and the Jurist Alberettti.[3] In Naples, he painted several ceilings and frescoes, for example at the Chiesa di Santa Maria in Portico, and the cupula of Santi Apostoli. He completed an etching of a Holy Family, after Giovanni Domenico Cerrini, who was his intimate friend.

Relative to Lanfranco's style, Benaschi lightening the tints and attenuating the graphic prominence of the contours of the figures in order to achieve greater chromatic fusion and a more rough pictorialism. This style manifested in the frescoes of the chapel of Santa Maria la Nova (Death of St. Anne, St. Paul's Preaching, St. Louis of Toulouse Shows the Bull of Indulgences to the People), in the paintings of the chapel of St. Michael to the St. Apostoli, then in the fresco executed in the dome of this same church (1680, with the collaboration of Orazio Frezza), and then in the Saints on the front arches of the chapel of the church of the Gerolamini (1681).[1]

Being ill he retired to live in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Caponapoli where he decorated the church with a vast cycle of frescoes executed with the help of Orazio Frezza and Giuseppe Castellano and depicting episodes from the Life of Christ and Virgin. During a hospitalization in that monastery, he died on the 28th of September 1688.

He had a daughter, Angela, born in Turin in 1666 and died in Rome in 1746, also a painter who was appreciated by her contemporaries - and especially by Pascoli - as a portraitist: at the moment, however, no work of hers is known.[1] Among his pupils was Orazio Frezza.


  1. ^ a b c Ferrari, Oreste. "- Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 8 (1966)". Treccani. Retrieved 8 March 2018. 
  2. ^ L. Pascoli, page 225.
  3. ^ L. Pascoli, page 226.