FRANCESCO FONTEBASSO

SKETCH FOR A CEILING FRESCO 

1709 Venice - 1769 St. Petersburg 
Canvas, 29 x 52 cm

Essay

In1728 Francesco Fontebasso became scholar of Sebastiano Ricci. During this time he came across the roman chiaroscuro and developed a sense for solemn colours. 

His artistic formation was accomplished in Rome and Bologna. Shortly after his wedding Fontebasso received a convocation to Trento for the decoration of the Church SS. Anunziata where he painted the frescoes of the dome, reel and lunette. This assignment marked the end of his juvanile period. From then on he was heading towards a more mature and personal style.

The 18th century in Venice was a period of decadence as well as a time of great mercantile and political activity. The nobility was longing for elegance and magnificence. In general the Venetian society remained stuck to the old forms and their conception of the past. Therefore the greek and roman history became the setting for the glorification of single persons. This lead to the evolution of an allegorical - celebration painting, which played  an important role in the work of Fontebasso.

Due to his virtuosity and mastership Fontebasso became the interior designer of numerous noble residences. In these designs the influence of Tiepolo regarding the scenography is strongly noticeable.

Fontebasso had a very precise sense of composition as well as luminance and form. He deepened his knowledge of Neapolitan painting and certainly adopted Tiepolos aggressive and rousing Pathos. 

In the year 1761 Fontebasso was invited to Sankt Petersburg where he painted a ceiling frescos and the decorations for the Winter palace. Unfortunately many of these works have been lost and destroyed.

Our painting, a sketch for a ceiling fresco "Triumph of a military leader", which could not be retraced until now, represents a variation to a painting with the same title in the collection Kronberg in Sweden.1

 

1 cf: Magrini Marina, „Francesco Fontebasso (1707 – 1769)“, Vicenza, 1988 p.175 no 146

 

 


Provenance

Private Collection, Austria
Exhibited Galerie Sanct Lucas, Vienna, Winter 1964/65


Literature

Magrini Marina, Francesco Fontebasso (1707 – 1769), Vicenza, 1988, p. 223 reprod. No. IV.