By Adriana Baranello

Domenico Corvi was born 16 September 1721 in Viterbo. At 15 Corvi went to Rome and entered the studio of Francesco Mancini, were he learned the eclectic approaches that would characterize his works. His early career saw mostly commissions to decorate churches in and around Rome, including in his home town of Viterbo. Starting around 1764, Corvi began to take primarily private commissions. 

During the years stretching until 1780, Corvi took on major private commissions for, among others, a fresco cycle in Palazzo Barberini in Rome that celebrated the Colonna family.  Corvi’s greatest private patrons were the Borghese family, who employed him on a fixed salary for almost a decade.  During this period he also achieved considerable success as a painter of portraits and mythological scenes for important visitors to Rome. After 1780 Corvi returned to taking almost exclusively ecclesiastical commissions. 

For most of the latter half of the 1700s he was a major exponent of the Roman classical tradition. In the course of his career he held several important official positions in the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Rome, and from 1757 was the director of the Scuola del Nudo at Campodoglio. Corvi had a significant influence on his pupils, who included Giuseppe Cades and Vincenzo Camuccini, encouraging them to assimilate the most graceful elements from a variety of sources. Corvi died in 1803. 

Reference: Alexander Kader. “Corvi, Domenico.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.

Allegory of Painting, 1764, oil on canvas, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Portrait of Henry Stuart, Cardinal of York, oil on canvas.

Madonna and Child, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

The Vestal Tuccia, 2nd Half of the 18th Century, oil on canvas, Capitoline Museums, Rome.

Camillus and the Schoolmaster of Falerii, c. 1774-1776, oil on canvas, Capitoline Museums, Rome.

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