Piazzetta was born in Venice, the son of a sculptor Giacomo Piazzetta, from whom he had early training in wood carving. Starting in 1697 he studied with the painter Antonio Molinari. By Piazzetta’s account, he studied under Giuseppe Maria Crespi while living in Bologna in 1703–05, although there is no record by Crespi of formal tutelage. Thanks to Crespi, Carlo Cignani’s influence reached Piazzetta. Piazzetta did find inspiration in Crespi’s art, in which the chiaroscuro of Caravaggio was transformed into an idiom of graceful charm in his pictures of common folk. He was also greatly impressed by the altarpieces created by another Bolognese painter of a half-century earlier, Guercino.