CAMUCCINI, Vincenzo
(b. 1771, Roma, d. 1844, Roma)

Biography

Italian painter, part of a family of dealers, collectors and painters. He was the brother of Pietro Camuccini (1760-1833), also a painter. From an early age Vincenzo was assisted and encouraged by Pietro, who had given up his place in the studio of Domenico Corvi (1721-1803) to Vincenzo. The younger brother's earliest known painting, the Sacrifice of Noah (1785; Cantalupo in Sabina, Palazzo Camuccini), is a competent work demonstrating his use of Corvi's technique of chiaroscuro.

Between 1787 and 1789, on the advice of Pietro, Vincenzo undertook an intensive study of Michelangelo's and Raphael's frescoes at the Vatican. He also studied archaeology with Ennio Quirino Visconti, who introduced him to leading ecclesiastics within the papal court of Pope Pius VI. It was probably through his brother that Vincenzo met Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry (later 4th Earl of Bristol), who commissioned from him a copy (1789) of Raphael's Entombment (both Rome, Galleria Borghese). His familiarity with the art of the High Renaissance and with 17th-century Roman art is eloquently displayed in his drawings from c. 1787. In Joseph Interpreting the Dreams (c. 1795; Florence, Uffizi), for example, he is clearly influenced by the monumental quality of Michelangelo's figures. He produced drawings of antique sculpture after plaster casts and such originals as Trajan's Column, the heroic reliefs of which helped shape his interpretation of Roman history. His many drawings reveal a fluid technique and lively artistic imagination.

Camuccini's first major independent work, completed around 1798, was a large canvas of the Death of Caesar. In 1800, he was commissioned an Incredulity of St. Thomas (copy of mosaic) by the Vatican. In 1806, Gaspare Landi received a commission for two large canvases for the chapel of the Madonna of the Rosary in the church of San Giovanni in Piacenza. Ultimately, the commission was split with Camuccini who painted a Presentation in the Temple.

Camuccini was also a successful portrait painter, he executed portrait of many important personages including Pope Pius VII, and the King and Queen of Naples. Several of his works were engraved by Pietro Bettelini (1763-1829).

Camuccini was appointed inspector-general of the Museums of the Pope, and of the Factory of Mosaics, and director of the Neapolitan Academy of Rome. He was a member of the Institute of France, during some years president of the Academy of St. Luke. Pope Pius VII conferred upon him the title of Baron, with hereditary succession, and the Emperor Francis I the order of the Iron Crown.



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