Austrian painter, next to Paul Troger
one of the most significant painters of Austrian baroque painting during the first half of the 18th century. The son of an imperial court cook, he first studied with the landscape and genre painter Adam Pankraz Ferg (1651-1729) and then with the decorative and history painter Georg Werle (1668-1727). Werle trained Gran to paint frescoes and introduced him to his first employer and patron, Prince Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg (d 1732). Werle himself worked for the Prince between 1715 and 1719 on frescoes at Ohrada Hunting Lodge, near Frauenberg in Bohemia (now Hlubok, Czech Republic), where he was partly influenced by such Venetian painters as Gregorio Lazzarini and Sebastiano Ricci, as well as by Jacob van Schuppen (1670-1751), a director of the Akademie der Bildenden Knste in Vienna, and his mentors of the French Baroque classical movement; all were artists who later influenced Gran.
Schwarzenberg lent Gran money to enable him to travel to Italy to perfect his painting skills. From 1719 he studied mainly with Francesco Solimena
and Ricci, the leading masters of the Neapolitan and Venetian schools respectively. Their styles had a strong influence on Gran s subsequent work. He also studied painters of the Italian Renaissance and 17th century; those who influenced him most were Annibale Carracci and Agostino Carracci, Domenichino,
and Carlo Maratti.
In Venice he met Davide Antonio Fossati, who became his first pupil and assistant, and the two artists returned to Vienna together before Easter 1723. In the same year he married Anna Maria Barbara Werle, the daughter of his former teacher. He moved to St. Plten in 1744/45.
His works are influenced both by the abundance of colour of the Venetian painter Ricci, and the dark colours and the heavy, measured figures characteristic of the Neapolitan Solimena; tendency of representative severity and diagonally-rhombic forms of composition. His later works are marked by tight and simple forms of composition and colouring, paving the way for classicism in Austria.
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