by Francesca Centurione Scotto Boschieri
bilingual book, pages 152, format cm 15×21, ill. col. e b/n, 2008
Pompeo Batoni (1708-1787), living during one of the most enlightened and complicated periods of European history – the 1700’s – becoming “the most celebrated Italian painter of his time”.
He was born in Lucca, son of a goldsmith, in 1708, a year after the creation of Great Britain through the union of scotland and england, and he died on the year of anohter birth: the birth of United States of America (1787).
From 1727 onwards, already and reasonably famous historical and religious painter, Batoni transformed his studio in Rome – his city of adoption – into a friendly meeting place for Grand Tour noblemen and soon grew to the be most famoust portraitist in Europe. A portrait by painter from Lucca become a must for princes and prelates, aristocrats and the Pope himself. It was a true fashion of the time of overseas Englishmen, Scotsmen and Hirishmen, to be portrayed in the midst of classical riuns much loved and studied at Oxford University, while downed in splendid, brightly-coloured and fully-detailed clothes.
Batoni records the faces and characters of the young British upper class, producing a magnificent art gallery and collection of portraits that are still visible for the most part in wonderful English coutryside residences.
This book wishes to invite readers to embark on a journey in teh opposite sense, on a grand tour in the countryside dwellings of the milord who commissioned over two hundred portraits paintings from Pompeo Batoni. A jouney driven by the curiosity to seek answers to a range af questions: who were they? How did they live? What sort of tastes did they have? While enjoing, of course, a good cup of tea. The plant that changed a good part of their history.