(b Genoa, 1600; d Genoa, 28 June 1649).
Italian painter. At the age of 12 he studied with Luciano Borzone
and c. 1614 entered the Genoese studio of Andrea Ansaldo. Among a
number of lost early paintings was a large Temptation of St Anthony
done at the age of 16 (Soprani, p. 273). Several complex
compositions with small figures, including the Apotheosis of St
Thomas Aquinas (Lille, Mus. B.-A.), the Last Supper (Genoa, Mus.
Accad. Ligustica B.A.), the Stoning of St Stephen (Lucca, Mus. &
Pin. N.) and the Crowning of the Virgin (Taggia, Dominican Convent),
perhaps date from 1616–26. These are close in style to works such as
Bernardo Strozzi’s bozzetto (c. 1620; Genoa, Mus. Accad. Ligustica
B.A.) for an altarpiece of Paradise (destr.) and to other
contemporary works by Ansaldo, Giulio Benso and Giovanni Andrea de’
Ferrari, which also derive their figure style from Mannerism.
Assereto’s earliest dated painting, SS John the Baptist, Bernard,
Catherine, Lucy and George (1626; Recco, S Giovanni Battista), is
distinguished by its silvery colour and dramatic contrasts of light
and dark, and by the powerful realism and vitality of the individual
saints. Here he absorbed Borzone’s sfumato technique and skill as a
portrait painter, while the crisp contours of the drapery suggest
Ansaldo. Assereto’s work from c. 1626–36 sparkles with rich colour
and detail, as in the strikingly naturalistic and intense Ecstasy of
St Francis (163(?6); Genoa, Cassa di Risparmio, see Pesenti, fig.
354). The work of the Lombard Mannerist painters Cerano, Morazzone
and Giulio Cesare Procaccini that had influenced Strozzi and Ansaldo
before 1620 also had an effect on Assereto’s early work. This is
apparent in the elongated figures and high-keyed colours of his two
octagonal vault frescoes, David and Abimelech and SS John and Peter
Healing the Lame Man, in SS Annunziata del Vastato, Genoa. The
frescoes were dated after 1639 by Soprani, but a date of c. 1630
seems stylistically more convincing. Sharp-edged draperies,
meticulous ornamental detail and jewel-like colours ranging from
lime to pink and orange characterize Assereto’s vivid narrative
painting Alexander and Diogenes (c. 1630; Berlin, Gemäldegal.) and
his altarpiece SS Cosmas and Damian Curing the Sick (Genoa, SS Cosma
e Damiano), in which some of the figures resemble those by Orazio
de’ Ferrari, who may have worked with Assereto in Ansaldo’s studio.