Pompeo Batoni, Lucca 1708 - 1787 Roma

  • Pompeo Batoni

    Lucca 1708 - 1787 Roma

The most celebrated painter of eighteenth-century Rome, Pompeo Batoni was born in Lucca, the son of a distinguished goldsmith. In 1727 he left his father’s workshop and settled in the Eternal City. Batoni’s drawings of classical statuary came to the attention of British antiquaries and collectors, and he soon established himself as a history painter, whose religious and mythological paintings became sought after by the greatest princes of the Church and rulers across Europe. By the 1750s he was devoting most of his energies to portraits, which remain among the most memorable artistic accomplishments of the era. Batoni was especially popular with foreign, and especially British, visitors to Rome, and he often portrayed these Grand Tourists against emblematic backdrops of ancient Roman monuments or beside landmarks of classical sculpture. Batoni rendered his sitters with great vivacity and dignity, and while his polished and learned style evinces an admiration for the classical tradition of Raphael, Reni, and Maratta he infused with a Rococo grace and delicacy of touch.