Bernardo Strozzi in his youth did not foresee an artistic career.
A native of Genoa, he entered a Capuchin monastery there when he
was 17 years old. However, upon the death of his father he found
it necessary to leave monastic life in order to support his mother
and unmarried sister. By 1633 he had arrived in Venice where, despite
being foreign born, he swiftly became one of the leading artists
of the period.
his acceptance was propelled by his portrait of the composer Claudio
Monteverdi, a pioneer of modern opera, who had a wide circle of influential
patrons in Venice. Strozzi painted many of the leading Venetians of
his day, including Doge Francesco Erizzo and Cardinal Patriarch Federico