Bernardo Strozzi

Bernardo Strozzi (Italian, 1581—1644) received his first training as a painter in his hometown of Genoa, and then chose to enter a monastery of the fairly strict Capuchin order in about 1597. He continued to paint during his time as a friar, producing mainly religious, devotional works.

He was granted permission in 1610 to leave the monastery in order to care for his unmarried sister and their sick, widowed mother. He supported them all with painting sales and commissions. By 1630 his mother had died, and sister was married, but Strozzi fled Genoa for Venice rather than return to the monastery.

Strozzi spent the rest of his life in Venice, where he became one of the most important painters. He was known for sensitive and lively portraits, and detailed allegorical and genre scenes, as well as religious works. He is known to have taken on many students, and the numerous variations and versions of his paintings indicate that he maintained a large workshop. In addition to his artistic life in Venice, Strozzi continued his religious life by becoming an official in the Catholic church.