Verrio, Antonio

Verrio, Antonio a Neapolitan painter, was born at Lecce about 1639. After making considerable progress in the art, he visited Venice to study the coloring of the Venetian school. After some time he returned to Naples, where he gained much notoriety through the execution of certain gay paintings. In 1660 he painted a large picture in fresco of Christ Healing the Sick, in the College of the Jesuits, which was marked for its fine coloring. He next went to France and painted the high-altar of the Carmelites at Toulouse. Shortly after this he went to England in the service of Charles II, who desired him to direct the manufacture of tapestry at Mortlake; but the king changed his mind, and Verrio was employed on the frescos of Windsor Castle. After the accession of James II he was again employed at Windsor in "Wolsey's Tomb-house," then to be converted into a Roman Catholic chapel. Refusing for a time to enter the service of William III, he painted or the nobility, but afterwards was induced to paint for the king. He was granted an annual pension of £200 by queen Anne, but died in 1707. He is described by Walpole as "an excellent painter for the sort of subjects on which he was employed, that is, without much invention, and with less taste; his exuberant pencil was ready at pouring out gods, goddesses, kings, emperors, and triumphs, over those public surfaces on which the eve never rests long enough to criticize, and where one should be sorry to place the works of a better master; I mean ceilings and staircases. The New Testament or the Roman history cost him nothing but ultramarine; that and marble columns and marble steps he never spared."

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