Giovanni Battista Crespi (Dec 23, 1573 – Oct 23, 1632), called Il Cerano, was an Italian painter, sculptor, and architect,
He was born in Romagnano Sesia, the son of a painter, Raffaele Crespi, and moved to Cerano with his family some years later. In 1591 he is known to have been living in Milan.
Son of the painter Raffaele Crespi, his first and seemingly unique teacher, and Camilla, grew up with his brother Ortensio Crespi (1578-1631) who became his principal collaborator with the generous Melchiorre Gherardini, known as Ceranino
The Crespi family moved to Cerano only later In 1591 the artist had already settled in Milan In that year is documented a payment by Count Renato Borromeo, brother of Cardinal Federico, for performing decorative works inside Of the palace Borromeo, today lost This commission witnesses the early activity of the painter, at the time of nineteen years, already at the service of the family who will become hegemon in Milan at the beginning of the seventeenth century Here he left numerous altarpiece in western Lombardy (Coronation of the Virgin With the ss Agostino and Bonaventura aTrecate; Adoration of the Shepherds, already at Mortara, Turin, Sabauda Gallery; Last Supper, Cerano). It is evident that the influence of the main artists active in Milan at the end of the sixteenth century, Gaudenzio Ferrari and Pellegrino Tibaldi, As well as Nordic masters like Bartholomäus Spranger Already in the early days, before the trip to the center of Italy, there are references to art And of Federico Barocci and of the Roman manieristic environment, which represented the hegemonic school in those years Up to 1596 his upgrading trip to Rome, following his main patron, Federico Borromeo, with probable visits also to Bologna and Florence
In 1598 he painted plans for the monumental statue of the Colosseum of San Carlo Borromeo (21 meters high) at Arona, which should have been the fulcrum of a Sacred Mount ever completed. This work has come up with numerous drawings of his hand, kept at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
The first great commissions obtained by the painter in the capital of the duchy are the two great altar posts with the Franciscan saint’s mark, already at the Immaculate New of the cappuccinos of Milan, destroyed in Berlin in 1945, and the Baptism of Christ (Frankfurt on Less, Städelsches Kunstinstitut), 1600 and 1601 respectively. With them, the long series of prestigious commissions in the main Milanese yards began. In the years 1602 and 1603 Crespi worked (with four paintings) at the first series (the Facts of the Life of Blessed Carlo Borromeo) of the Quadroni for the Duomo of Milan and provided some altarpiece for Santa Maria at San Celso The series of the Quadri di San Carlo was completed in 1610 with the group of Miracles, smaller in size; Cerano participated in six tempera paintings The direction of the Roman ceremony of San Carlo’s canonization was also entrusted to Federico Borromeo by Cerano, who painted a series of canvases for a temporary apparatus for the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, which remains today only The Sant’Ambrogio della Pinacoteca Ambrosiana Since the second decade of the century, which sees the protagonist on the Milan scene, also takes the adoption of an increasingly decisive and personal style. Characteristics of this turn are the accentuated realism, strongly expressive, a Greater synthesis in composition, and more sculptural and robust construction of the figures
In the following years Cerano painted some of the works still today considered his masterpieces: the Deposition of Novara, the Mortar Crucifixion, the Madonna of the Rosary of Brera In 1614 he painted the Mass of St. Gregory the Great for Varese, and a shovel for the Carthusian Of Pavia; 1618 ended the Baptism of St. Augustine for the Milanese church of S Marco Opere, the latter, characterized by great compositional complexity, and strong visionary accents
In 1621 he became the first president of the Ambrosian Academy, founded by Cardinal Federico Borromeo Among his students Daniele Crespi and Carlo Francesco Nuvolone Around 1626 he finished the Resurrection of Christ for the convent of the nuns of S Vittore in Meda, considered one of his masterpieces , With extraordinary chromaticity
Since 1629 he has been directing the Duomo Factory by providing drawings for sculptures and also as an architect, drawing a new project on the façade that reconstructed the sixteenth century by Pellegrino Tibaldi, as an alternative to that of Francesco Maria Richino of the Ceranesque project remain, in the actual façade Of the cathedral, the five portals Another architectural work is the facade of San Paolo Converso, always in Milan
His last works were the Crucifixion for the Church of San Protaso at Monachos in Milan, today at the Seminary of Venegono Inferiore due to the demolition of the church, and La Madonna libera Milano from the Plague, (1631), in Santa Maria delle Grazie La Strage Of the Albigesi for the church of San Domenico in Cremona (today at the Civic Museum Ala Ponzone) unfinished for the death of the artist was completed by the student Melchiorre Gherardini (1632)
True to the Counter-Reformation piety zealously expressed in Milanese art of his time, his paintings focus on mysteries and mystical episodes in saintly life. The crowded canvases and the angles recall Mannerism, but his paintings show an emotion that evokes common sentiments in Baroque art. Along with other artists, he completed a series of paintings (Quadroni of St. Charles) of the life of St. Charles Borromeo for the Duomo of Milan; an altarpiece with the Baptism of St. Augustine for San Marco, Milan; and a Mass of St. Gregory for the Basilica of San Vittore in Varese (1615–17). Also see the nightmarish, St. Gregory Delivers the Soul of a Monk (1617), also in San Vittore.
He was a scholar of considerable attainments, and held a position of dignity in Cerano. In 1620 he was appointed head of the Accademia Ambrosiana founded by Cardinal Federico Borromeo. Among his pupils were Daniele Crespi, Carlo Francesco Nuvolone, and Melchiorre Gherardini (died 1675) .