Giovanni Quagliata (1603-1673) was an Italian painter of the
Baroqueperiod. He is more properly known in Italy as Giovan Battista Quagliata (and Giambattista Quagliata), one of the leading artists of the Messinesi painters of the 1600s, as described by [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francesco_Susinno Francesco Susinno] in his book "The Lives of the Messinesi Painters" published in 1724. Giovanni was born in Messina, Italy. He was a pupil of Pietro da Cortonaand enjoyed the patronage and friendship of the Spanish Viceroy of Sicily, Don Juan José of Austria (Viceroy from 1649-1651; also know as John of Austria the Younger). Giovanni's brother, Andrea Quagliata (born in 1594 or 1599, and died in 1660), was also an historical painter, but of lesser significance. [http://home.comcast.net/~suzyq9/GBQpaintings.html Giovanni's works] - paintings, frescos and large canvases - were famously displayed in the galleries and churches of Messina, but due to earthquakes from Mount Etnaand wartime bombings, few have survived to the present day.
Giovanni's father, Giovan Domenico Quagliata, was a painter who lived in
Romein the late 1500s. He was an artist of talent, but not greatness. Unfortunately, we don't have the details of Giovan Domenico's birth, but a reasonable estimate would be 1570. His birth place remains a mystery. If he was born on the mainland, it's highly likely he was part of the Quagliata family located in Balvano. Possibly looking for a better market for his talent and art, Giovan Domenico moved from Rometo the growing trade center of Messina, arriving in Sicilyin the late 1500s. Unfortunately Susinno does not cite the works of Giovan Domenico. Sometime before 1600, Giovan Domenico married a woman from Messina named Francesca LeDonne and together they had children. We know of two sons: Andrea Quagliata born in 1594 (or in 1599, and died in 1660) and Giovan Battista Quagliata born in 1603 (1603-1673, also known as Giovanni Quagliata). Andrea became a student of his father and was a capable painter. Giovanni was directed by his parents to study letters, but his studies were interrupted by the premature death of the father. Andrea, by that time a professional painter, convinced his younger brother to attend his school where Giovanni does well. Andrea married, but apparently did not have children.
Giovanni helped his brother with household income by painting small pictures and portraits. Giovanni became so attracted by the art of painting that he decided to journey to
Rometo attend the prestigious school of Pietro Berrenttini from Cortona (also known as Pietro da Cortona). As Giovanni continued his studies under Cortona, it soon became clear that he was more talented than both his father and his brother. About age 24, he married a Roman woman named Cinzia Conticelli. During those years in Romehe created many works documented in the registers of the parish of San Nicola in Arcione, and he became a member of the Academy of Saint Luke - an association of artists in Rome, founded in 1593 for the purpose of elevating the work of "artists" above that of craftsman, which is still active today.
At age 37, perhaps enticed by lucrative commissions, Giovanni returned to Messina in 1640. There he enjoyed the patronage of the Spanish Viceroy of Sicily, Don Juan José of Austria. The Viceroy became a student of Giovanni's and the two became friends. Then, Giovanni's first wife, Cinzia, died and sometime later he married Flavia Alias, sister of the famous mathematician of the Company of Gesu, Vincenzo Alias. Giovanni had at least two children - two sons are known. Giovanni produced many famous works during this period. In time, Viceroy Don Juan José granted Giovanni Quagliata a noble title with a [http://home.comcast.net/~suzyq9/GBQ-CoatOfArms.html coat of arms] and some land in the countryside area of
Forza d'Agrò, Sicily, between the city and the sea, where the new city of Sant'Alessio Siculolater developed, and from where most of his descendants come. Giovanni's works - paintings, frescos and large canvasses - were famously displayed in the galleries and churches of Messina, but due to earthquakes from Mount Etnaand wartime bombings, few have survived to the present day. [http://home.comcast.net/~suzyq9/GBQpaintings.html Surviving canvases] include: 'The Apparition of the Virgin Mary to Saint Paul', 'The Sacrifice of Polissena', 'The Virgin Nativity', 'Immaculate Mary', and 'The Triumph of David'.
*cite book| first=Iana| last=Quagliata| year=2006 | title="Giambattista Quagliata, Pittore E Architetto Del '600" | publisher=Stampato da Quick Printing | location=Monza, Italy
*cite book| first=Francesco| last=Susinno| year=1960 | title="Le vite dei pittori messinesi"; text, introduction and bibliographic notes by Valentino Martinelli | editor=Felice Le Monnier | publisher=Firenze | location=Italy (originally published 1724 in Italy)
*cite book| first=Michael| last=Bryan| year=1889 | title="Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, Biographical and Critical (Volume II L-Z)" | editor=Walter Armstrong & Robert Edmund Graves | pages=page 331 | publisher=George Bell and Sons | location=York St. #4, Covent Garden, London; Original from Fogg Library, Digitized May 18, 2007 | id= | url=http://books.google.com/books?id=K2cCAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1&dq=Michael+Bryan+Painters+Engravers#PPP7,M1 | authorlink=
* [http://www.torrese.it/Museo%20-%20Undicesima%20Sala.htm "Regional Museum of Messina - The Virgin Nativity"]
* [http://home.comcast.net/~m.quagliata/ "The Quagliata Family Genealogy Project" - Information used with permission.]
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