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Pompeo Girolamo Batoni

1708 - 1787

Batoni was the leading portrait painter of 18th- century Rome. He was born in Lucca, the son of a goldsmith, and his training probably took place there before he moved to Rome in 1727.

From about 1740 Batoni established himself as the principal portraitist in Rome of visitors from abroad, especially English aristocrats on the Grand Tour. Batoni's grand decorative schemes and altarpieces show the influence both of the antique and of Raphael, whose work he often copied.

His patrons on the Grand Tour included many Englishmen, such as Charles Compton, Earl of Northampton, whose portrait of 1758 is in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and the unknown man in the 'Portrait of a Gentleman' in the Gallery Collection. Such patrons carried home with them imposing images of themselves pictured beside classical statues and often with Roman buildings shown in the background. Batoni was a major influence on Mengs.