* 1640 Mailand
† 1715 Mailand
Little is known about the life of Filippo Abbiati who was born in Milan in 1640. According to sources, the student of Carlo Francesco Nuvolone was particularly active as painter in and around his hometown. As a young man Filippo Abbiati presumably spent some time in Venice, as some of his works let assume. Some art historical research also believes that he traveled to Rome, which has generally been dated to the year 1674.
In the last quarter of the 17th century Filippo Abbiati made numerous altar paintings for churches in Milan and its vicinity. A payment document, for instance, proves that Filippo Abbiati made three paintings for the church S. Sebastiano in Milano in 1680. He also made his masterpiece in Milan between 1683 and 1696, the decoration of S. Alessandro, executed together with Federico Bianchi. Towards the end of the 17th century, Filippo Abbiati’s competition entry for a silver statue for the Milan cathedral as well as a drawing for the funeral of emperor Karl II. deliver additional proof of his artistic activities. Research, however, has little knowledge of life and work of Filippo Abbiati after the turn of the century.
In his hand drawings and paintings, which hint at Giovanni Battista Crespi and Giulio Cesare Procaccini as sources of influence, Filippo Abbiati takes Roman baroque in Northern Italy to full bloom. A strong tenebrism, a dynamic composition as well as an increased expressiveness hand in hand with a decorative appeal characterize his work. In his later works Filippo Abbiati appears as precursor of Italian rococo, which must be seen in connection with the development of Venetian art (e.g. with the art of the Croatian Federico Bencovich or Sebastiano Ricci). Among his circle of students, which carried Filippo Abbiati’s concept of art over to the new age, were Pietro Maggi and Alessandro Magnasco.
Filippo Abbiati died in Milan in 1715.