Artist biography

GIACOMO AMICONI 1682–1752

Also known, less correctly, as Jacopo Amigoni. History, decorative and portrait painter, Venetian in style but with an international career. Important in English painting in helping to spread a new conception of decorative painting, replacing the complex allegories of Laguerre, Verrio and Thornhill, and painting on large canvases framed and let into the wall rather than hung on the wall itself.

Born 1682 in Naples of Venetian parents; already established as a painter in Venice by 1711. According to Vertue studied under Antonio Bellucci in Düsseldorf. Worked in Bavaria 1717–29, particularly at Nymphenburg, Ottobeuren and Schleissheim. Visited Venice, Rome and Naples 1728–9, and in 1729 went from Munich via Holland to England where he remained until 1739, visiting Paris with the castrato singer Farinelli in 1736. Married the mezzo-soprano Maria Antonia Marchesini (‘La Lucchesina’) 17 May 1738. Worked mainly in and near London, painting a considerable number of portraits and also collaborating with George Lambert on scenery for the Covent Garden Theatre, possibly including that for Handel's Atalanta in 1736. Left England for Venice August 1739 having been supplanted by Hogarth as decorator of St Bartholomew's Hospital. Encouraged Canaletto to come to England. Summoned to Spain by Ferdinand VI in 1747 and died in Madrid 22 August 1752.

LITERATURE
Croft-Murray 1970, pp.17–19, 163–4; Waterhouse 1981

EXHIBITIONS
Pietro Zampetti, Dal Ricci al Tiepolo, Palazzo Ducale, Venice 1969, pp. 87–9


Published in:
Elizabeth Einberg and Judy Egerton, The Age of Hogarth: British Painters Born 1675-1709, Tate Gallery Collections, II, London 1988