BEZZUOLI, Giuseppe
(b. 1784, Firenze, d. 1855, Firenze)


Giuseppe Bezzuoli (or Bazzuoli), Italian painter and teacher. A leading exponent of academic Romanticism in Italy, he initially received drawing lessons from his friend Luigi Sabatelli. From 1786 he attended the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence, where he studied under Giuseppe Piattoli (c. 1743-1823), Jean-Baptiste Desmarais (1756-1813) and Pietro Benvenuti. In 1811 he was made the Accademia's Aiuto Maestro di Disegno e Figura, and in 1812 he won the Concorso Triennale. In 1815-16 he made the first of several visits to Bologna, where he admired and studied its 17th-century painters. This marked the beginning of his romantic turn. Paolo and Francesca (1816; private collection), commissioned by the Conte Sante Alari of Milan, was the first Florentine work depicting a literary Romantic subject. Probably inspired by Sabatelli, it reflected a new Romantic ferment in the arts after the departure of the Bonapartes; two plays and a novel on the same theme were published around 1814-16. In 1816 Bezzuoli was made professor and became Sottomaestro di Disegno. He travelled to Rome and Naples in 1818-19 and to Venice in 1823. In Rome he encountered foreign artists, copied Raphael's School of Athens (Rome, Vatican, Stanza della Segnatura) for Conte Paolo Tosi from Brescia, and drew from Michelangelo, the Bolognese masters, and from nature in the Roman Campagna.

One of his principal works is the Entry of Charles VIII into Florence (Palazzo Pitti, Florence). He decorated a small Tribune of Galileo at the Natural History Museum at Florence, and the more important series of scenes from the life of Caesar (1836) in one of the rooms on the ground floor of the Pitti Palace. Among his pupils were Giovanni Fattori, Enrico Pollastrini, and Silvestro Lega.

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