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Francesco Zuccarelli

18th-century painter of lyrical landscapes

Landscape with Girls at a River

Born in Pitigliano, Tuscany, Francesco Zuccarelli (1702-88) studied in Rome and came to Venice in the 1730s. It wasn't long before he became one of the city's most popular artists, patronized by Consul Joseph Smith and his friend Richard Wilson. His success with British travellers encouraged him to move to London in 1752, where he took up Marco Ricci's old role of painting Italian-style Arcadian landscapes for the nobility. Zuccarelli charmed with his soft coulours, lyricism and picturesque peasants. Often he included a drinking gourd somewhere in the scene, a play on his name, Zuccarelli or 'little gourd.'

Ten years later, Zuccarelli auctioned off all his paintings and moved back to Venice, and made a member of the Accademia. In 1765 he returned to England, and became a founding member of the Royal Academy there in 1768. Still, Venice called, and he returned in late 1771, and was elected President of the Venice Academy. He spent his last years in Florence.

Most of his paintings are outside Italy; in Venice, you'll find them in the Ca' Rezzonico and Accademia.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: PD Art