Bernardo Castello was born in San Martino d'Albaro, now a quarter of Genoa. He apprenticed under Andrea Semino and Luca Cambiaso, then he travelled through Italy, meeting other painters and creating his own particular style.
During his career he painted a lot of works and was very appreciated by famous poets, with which he had friendship relations. Among these he was a friend of Gabriello Chiabrera and Torquato Tasso, and took upon himself the task of designing the figures of the Jerusalem Delivered, published in 1590 (and also for a further edition, published in 1617). Some of these subjects were engraved by Agostino Carracci. Besides painting a number of works in Genoa, Castello was employed in Rome and worked also for the duke of Savoy Charles Emmanuel I.
Bernardo Castello died following a short illness in October 1629, aged seventy-two years, as he was about to go to Rome, where he had been requested to paint a picture for St. Peter's Basilica. He was buried in the church of San Martino of Albaro.
Bernardo Castello was the father of Valerio Castello, his youngest son, born when the painter was already in advanced age. Valerio Castello, great innovator, would become one of the greatest Genoese painters of 17th century, even if he died prematurely, when he was only 34 years old.
Anyway, Bernardo Castello could not influence his son’s artistic education, as he died when Valerio was only six years old.
During his long career Bernardo Castello produced a lot of works. The following list is not exhaustive, but gives an idea of his large artistic production:
- Frescoes with scenes of “Jerusalem Delivered” in De Franchi palace (Genoa)
- Frescoes in Palazzo Spinola di Pellicceria and Imperiale palace (Genoa)
- Fresco depicting “Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist” in the church of Jesus (Genoa)
- Painting depicting St. Francis of Paola in the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Agnes (Genoa)
- Painting depicting “Esther and Ahasuerus” in the church of the Saints Cosmas and Damian (Genoa)
- Painting depicting “Madonna and Child with Saints Nicholas and Magdalene” in the church of St. Mary Magdalene (Genoa)
- Painting depicting “Madonna Enthroned with St. John and other saints” in the church known as the “Commenda” (St. John of Pré, in Genoa)
- Altarpiece depicting “The saints Rocco, Nazarius and Celsus, Catherine of Siena and St. Sebastian” in the Oratory of St. Celsus (Genoa-Sturla)
- Two paintings that depict “Deposition” and “Madonna with Child and saints”, in the church of San Bartolomeo della Certosa (Genoa-Rivarolo).
- Painting depicting the "Martyrdom of St. Peter of Verona" (1597) and frescoes in the ceiling of the church of Santa Maria di Castello in Genoa.
- Painting depicting “St. Bernard in the chair between St. Erasmus and St. Nicholas” in the oratory of St. Bernard in Santa Margherita Ligure (discovered in 2007)
- Altarpiece depicting the “Virgin of the Rosary” in the shrine of Our Lady of the Rose in Santa Margherita Ligure
- Altarpiece depicting “Crucifix with the saints Prosper and Catherine of Alexandria” in the church of Santa Maria Assunta (Camogli)
- Frescoes depicting “Histories of the Virgin” in the ceiling end inside the dome of the shrine of Our Lady of Misericordia, near Savona
- Paintings depicting “Madonna and Child with angels” and “Adoration of the Shepherds” in the same shrine
- Painting depicting the '”Assumption of the Virgin” in the church of St. Catherine (Rossiglione)
- Painting depicting “St. John the Baptist, St. Anthony the abbot and Mary Magdalene” in the church of St. George (Busalla)
- Painting depicting the “Annunciation” in the church of St. George (Sarissola, quarter of Busalla).
- Altarpiece depicting the “Martyrdom of St. Lawrence” in the church of St. Lorenzo of Torbi (Ceranesi)
- Painting depicting the “Stoning of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr” in the church of San Giorgio dei Genovesi (Palermo)
Media related to Bernardo Castello at Wikimedia Commons
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica. 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 471–472. .
- Soprani, Raffaello (1769). Carlo Giuseppe Ratti (ed.). Delle vite de' pittori, scultori, ed architetti genovesi. Stamperia Casamara in Genoa, dalle Cinque Lampadi, con licenza de Superiori; Digitized by Googlebooks from Oxford University copy on Feb 2, 2007. pp. 150–163.