Born in Milan on 23 March 1754 to a family originally from Bosisio; died in the same city on November 8, 1817. He studied in Milan from 1769 with Carlo Maria Giudici, Martin Knoller and De Giorgi at the Ambrosiana school, and anatomy at the Ospedale Maggiore with Gaetano Monti; from 1776 he attended the Brera Academy of Fine Arts with Giuliano Traballesi, studying fresco techniques. After an initial activity in the fresco field (1777, frescoes from the parish church of Caglio), from 1779 to 1782 he dealt with scenography in Milan with the brothers Bernardino and Ferdinando Galliari. After being in Florence, at the school of Domenico Chelli (from 1783 to 1784), he continues his study trip to Rome, Parma, Bologna and Naples (from 1790 to 1791). He asserted himself and achieved notoriety by facing important tasks in fresco decoration (Rotonda delle Serre in the Royal Villa of Monza, 1789-1792; Santa Maria near San Celso in Milan, 1793-1795; Palazzo Sannazzaro-Prina in Milan, 1795-1800) . With the arrival of Napoleon in Milan in 1796, he was introduced to the court and became its official painter: his first famous portraits date back to this period (Napoleon at the battle of Lodi, 1796) and his first assignment as "High Commissioner" for the choice of Lombard and Venetian works of art to be sent to Paris, which will be renewed five years later. He gets more and more institutional positions: in 1801 he is a teacher at the Brera Academy; in 1802 he was appointed "Commissioner of the Shows"; in the same year he selected some paintings from the archiepiscopal collection that will be part, with others, of the new Pinacoteca di Brera, inaugurated in 1811. In 1804 he was in Paris to participate in Napoleon's coronation as emperor of the French; here he personally knows Jacques-Louis David. In 1805 he was named "First Court Painter" by Napoleon, who had just been crowned King of Italy. Among the series of frescoes painted for the Royal Palace, begun in 1808 and largely destroyed by the bombings of the Second World War, the Apotheosis of Napoleon with the four Virtues (now in the Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo) and Olympus were saved , coming from Napoleon's studio. Between 1808 and 1810 he decorated the interiors of the Villa Melzi d'Eril in Bellagio; in the meantime he continues the portrait activity for Napoleon and the Beauharnais family, for which he realizes his last masterpiece, the fresco with Parnassus in the Royal Villa of Monza (1811). In the same year he joined the Roman Academy of San Luca. In 1812, after the Napoleonic defeat in Russia, he interrupted the fresco decoration in the Royal Palace, which remained unfinished due to a stroke that hit him in 1813, leaving him almost completely paralyzed. Of his copious production, the following are worth mentioning: The Rape of Europe, two works from 1778 in a private collection; a tempera fan in the Turri collection in Milan; Napoleon I Consul and the portrait of Princess Belgioioso d'Este in the Villa Melzi in Bellagio; the Portrait of General Desaix and that of Madame Regnaud de Saint-Jean d'Angely in the Musée National of Versailles; that of Mrs. Angelini in the Ambrosiana in Milan; that of Vincenzo Monti at the Gallery of Modern Art in Rome; the self-portrait in the Menni collection in Milan; Apollo with the Muses on Parnassus; Napoleon building a bridge over the Danube; The nativity of Jesus; Roman history episode; Jacob's meeting with Rachel; The coronation of Jupiter, at the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Milan; Toilet of Giuntane, in the Tosio Gallery of Brescia; Madonna with Child; Hercules delivering Dejanira to the Centaur Nessus; The Self-portrait and the Portrait of Ugo Pascolo in the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan; portrait of the Marchesa Porro Lambertenghi Serbelloni; portrait of the Nob. Stefano Mainoni; portrait of Giambattista Bodoni; portrait of the singer Grassini; that of Countess Margherita Grimaldi Prati in the Municipal Art Gallery of Treviso and the portrait of Marianna Waldstein of Santa Cruz in Rome at the Accademia di San Luca; portrait of the musician Bonifacio Ascoli; portrait of Mons. Bonsignori Bishop of Faenza; Baccante; The Gods of Olympus; Hercules and Venus; Boez and Ruth.


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