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 Pompeo Girolamo Batoni  (1708 - 1787)

/ bah-TOE-nee/
About: Pompeo Girolamo Batoni


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Lived/Active: Italy      Known for: religious and nobility portrait

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Pompeo Batoni was born in 1708,  the son of a goldsmith of Lucca and one of the most ostentatiously wealthy and successful painters of the 19th century Roman school.  He carried out monumental church commissions and painted religious and mythological canvases, many for eminent foreign patrons. 

One of his teachers was the Master Sebastiano Conca.  He won his greatest reknown for smoothly executed portraits of popes, monarchs and British gentry and nobility. He was perhaps the most successful Italian portraitist and his Roman studio was besieged with clients.  At best, Batoni could paint with ravishing grace.  He celebrated the silky and luxurious feminity of the young women by whom, to the envy of other Roman painters, he was surrounded throughout his life.   

Batoni was the acknowledged master of the Grand Tour genre, finding a lucrative market in a parade of English noblemen who considered foreign travel part of their classical education - as well as their birthright.  Apparently they loved to have their journeys recorded in portraits, and Batoni was only too happy to accommodate them.  He depicted his affluent tourist clients as energetic members of a leisure class who had the world at their command.  
He was curator of the Papal collections and was knighted by the pope.  His house was a social, intellectual and artistic center. He died in 1787.   

Written and compiled by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:   
Oxford Companion to Art, edited by Harold Osborne   
Time Magazine, March 8, 1971   
Suzanne Muchnic in LA Times, Thursday, December 29, 1994.

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