Domenico Piola

Dates(Genoese), 1627 - 1703

At age seven, Domenico Piola learned to paint from his brother. After he reached maturity around 1650, the Piola family monopolized the market for the decoration of Genoese ceilings for nearly a century, though most of their ambitious projects have since been destroyed. The studio, know as Casa Piola, grew to include Piola's younger brother, his brother-in-law, his three sons, and his two sons-in-law. The comprehensive studio unified the design and production of the various elements of decorated ceilings: drawing, painting, stucco, and sculpture. They guided large decorative projects with a series of drawings, from careful studies of details through compositional sketches to full-scale cartoons. The Piolas also supplied designs for sculptors and for craftsmen in wood, ceramics, and metalwork. A prolific draftsman, Domenico Piola designed many prints, mostly frontispieces for books, which spread his fame throughout Europe. Piola derived his mature style from Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione's undulating figures, streamlined twisting draperies, and diagonal compositions. His son-in-law encouraged his use of bright colors and strongly foreshortened figures. They frequently collaborated, wedding a grand Baroque manner with Correggio's sfumato to create rich, festive, illusionistic scenes. By century's end, Piola was absorbing the new classicizing style.