The Polish-Italian painter Marcello Bacciarelli, was born in Rome on 16th February 1731.

By: Amy Fredrickson and Alexis Culotta 

The Polish-Italian painter Marcello Bacciarelli, was born in Rome on 16th February 1731. He studied under the proto-Neoclassical painter, Marco Benefial. Famous for his Neoclassical compositions and “Grand Manner” portraits, akin to elder contemporary Pompeo Batoni, Bacciarelli trained in Rome but found early artistic acclaim amidst the Polish royal court. Upon the recommendation of architect Gaetano Chiaveri, the Polish King, Augustus III, appointed Bacciarelli as a court painter in the early 1750s, and the following decades saw Bacciarelli at the beck and call of both Austrian and Polish aristocrats, seeking his tasteful painterly style. 

While working in Dresden, Marcello met the artist Bernardo Bellotto and they formed a long-lasting, working relationship. He also met the miniature portraitist Federicka Richter, whom he later married. Following King Augustus’ death, Marcello moved to Vienna where he painted a series of portraits depicting the imperial family.

From Vienna, he moved on to Warsaw. His success continued into the early years of the 19th century, receiving constant patronage from the Polish royal family. He was recruited by King Stanisław II Augustus, the last Polish king of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, in 1768 to become the Director of the newly founded Academy of Arts of Warsaw, as well as director of the royal buildings and estates. While working in Warsaw, he painted a set of portraits of nearly all the Polish kings, beginning from Bolesław I the Brave to the last king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Stanisław II Augustus. 

In addition to these regal commissions, which included both portraitures and painted scenes from Polish history for display within the Royal Castle, Bacciarelli also nurtured future, artistic talent in his studio. Among his many studio participants was the notable portrait painter Alexander Kucharski (or Kucharsky), who channeled Bacciarelli’s artistic approach into his own style. He also trained another notable pupil, Kazimierz Wojniakowski. Bacciarelli remained committed to painting until shortly before his death on 5th January 1818.


Self Portrait, 1793. Oil on canvas. National Museum, Warsaw. 

Portrait of Heinrich Graf von Brühl, c. 1753. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden. 

Portrait of Isabel Lubomirska (Elżbieta Czartoryska), 1770s. Oil on canvas. Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów, Warsaw.

Portrait of Actress Anna Lampel, c. 1800. National Museum, Warsaw.

Holy Isidore – The Blessing of Work, 1805. National Museum, Warsaw.


References:

Ciechanowiecki, Andrew. “Polish Art Treasures at the Royal Academy.” The Burlington Magazine 112, no. 803 (1970): 120-24.

Faldi, Italo. “Painting in Italy in the Eighteenth Century: Rococo to Romanticism.” The Burlington Magazine 113, no. 822 (1971): 563-71.

Ford, Brinsley. “Portraits of the English Abroad in Countries Other than Italy.” Studies in the History of Art 25 (1989): 95-119.

Mikoś, Michael J. “The Polish Kings and Cartography.” Imago Mundi 41 (1989): 76-86. 


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