Francesco Zuccarelli

Francesco Zuccarelli (1 August 1702 – 30 December 1788) was an Italian Rococo painter.

He was born at Pitigliano, in southern Tuscany, where he initially apprenticed with Paolo Anesi. He then worked in Rome with Pietro Nelli and perhaps Andrea Locatelli.

After a stay of at least three years in Florence, in 1732 he moved to Venice, where he enjoyed the patronage of, among others, Marshal Schulenburg, Consul Smith , and Francesco Algarotti, who recommended him to the Elector of Saxony, Augustus III of Poland. Zuccarelli excelled as a landscape painter, with small figures reminiscent of Claude; his range also included religious and mythological works. The Tuscan introduced a more mellow and airy palette to the typically Venetian colours, and his earliest known paintings from Venice reveal the influence of Alessandro Magnasco, and more lastingly, of Marco Ricci. He often collaborated with other artists, including Bernardo Bellotto and Antonio Visentini; in the mid-1740s, under the auspices of Consul Smith, he produced with Visentini a notable series featuring neo-Palladian architecture, as can be seen in their oil painting, Capriccio with a View of Burlington House, London (1746, The Royal Collection).

Francesco travelled to England to 1752, where his decorative talent resulted in diverse work, including the design of tapestries. Sometime around 1760 he turned to Shakespeare, depicting a scene from Macbeth where Macbeth and Banquo encounter the witches, one of the first eighteenth-century painters to portray this kind of subject. In 1762 he held a sale of his paintings at Prestage and Hobbs in London before his departure for Italy. In the same year, King George III acquired twenty-five of Zuccarelli's paintings through the purchase of much of Consul Smith's extensive art collection and library in Venice. Zuccarelli was induced to journey back to London in 176by his friend Algarotti's bequest of a cameo and group of drawings made to Lord Chatham. On this second visit he was lauded by the English nobility and critics alike, and invited to exhibit at leading art societies; moreover, King George III is said to have commissioned the large canvas, wild landscapes with the Finding of Moses (1768), now at Windsor Castle. Francesco Zuccarelli was a founding member, in 1768, of the Royal Academy of Arts, and on his return to Italy in 1771 he was elected President of the Venetian Academy. He finally settled in Florence, where he died in 1788.

His paintings often bear a mark representing a pumpkin, a pictorial representation of his name, which signifies little pumpkin.

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