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Mattia Preti

1613 - 1699

Preti was one of the principal painters active in Rome in the mid-17th century, and a leading painter in Naples in the late 1650s. He moved to Naples from Rome in about 1656 and in many works the Neapolitan legacy of Ribera is apparent, in addition to the influence of 16th-century Venetian decorative painting.

Preti was from southern Italy, from Taverna in Calabria. After training with his elder brother Gregorio in Rome, he painted a number of pictures of musicians and card-sharps in the style of Caravaggio. He travelled widely in north Italy and studied the work of Veronese in Venice. By the early 1640s he had returned to Rome, and painted the apse frescoes in S. Andrea della Valle.

Preti was influenced by the major painters working in Rome in the earlier 17th century, such as Domenichino and Pietro da Cortona. He went to Malta, probably in 1660, and worked there until his death.