Jacopo Amigoni Biography

(Was an Italian painter of the late-Baroque or Rococo Period)

Born: 1682

Born In: Venice, Italy

Jacopo Amigoni was an Italian painter who was active during the late Baroque period in art history. Born in Venice, Jacopo’s early life is a matter of debate among historians. By 1711, he was already working as a painter. Initially, he painted Gods and demons and later moved to the more bold and controversial style of paintings depicting Gods in sensuous positions. In the coming years, Jacopo would gain immense fame and travel to different cities across Europe to paint. He worked painting portraits for several nobles in cities such as Paris, Madrid, Milan and Naples. He moved to England in 1729 and thus the most successful time of his painting career began. He painted portraits of several members of British royalty and rich art patrons. Also earning hatred from the local artists' community and critics in England, Jacopo’s work during those 10 years is still considered to be instrumental to his legacy. He eventually moved to Madrid to work as a portrait painter at the court of Ferdinand VI, the King of Spain.  Jacopo was known to adopt the Rococo style of paintings, which is also said to be the later-stage Baroque era. He is widely regarded as one of the best European painters of the 18th century.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Giacomo Amiconi

Died At Age: 70


children: Caterina Amigoni Castellini

Partner: Maria Antonia Marchesini

Born Country: Italy

Artists Italian Men

Died on: 1752

place of death: Madrid, Spain

City: Venice, Italy

Childhood & Early Life

Jacopo Amigoni was born in Venice, Italy, to Venetian parents, in the year 1685. Much less is known about his early life and family background. There are debates about his place of birth and the exact date. Multiple sources claim that he was born in Venice. There are also multiple records that claim that he was from Naples. However, it has been well documented that his parents were originally from Venice. In his will, he has mentioned himself as a Venetian.

It is also known that he was already actively painting in 1711. It was the year when his name appears for the first time in the Venetian Painters’ guild. In multiple records, he is also named Giacomo Amiconi.

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In the initial few years of his painting career, Jacomo primarily painted religious and mythological scenes. It was assumed that he belonged to a family of devout Christians. Hence it showed in his early work. When he began travelling and attained more inspiration for his art, he began painting Gods in sensuous languor or games.

As per the records, he studied under the ace Italian painter Antonio Bellucci in Düsseldorf. In his youth, his reputation soared in Venice, which led him to embark on extensive travels to paint. In 1717, he was invited to work in Bavaria. There, he was commissioned to paint at the Elector of Bavaria, Munich for the court of Maximilian II Emmanuel, and in Ottobeuren for the Benedictine Monastery.

He also worked at the castle of Nymphenburg, the castle of Schleissheim and the Benedictine abbey of Ottobeuren.

In the late 1720s, he travelled to Venice, Rome and Naples and later travelled to Germany where he was receiving fame for his parlour work and portraits. For many years he was repeatedly commissioned to paint portraits and decorative cycles, which he didn’t enjoy.

Painting in the time when the Baroque style of painting was at its final stage, he adapted the Rococo style of art. Rococo paintings were known for their theatrical quality and decorations. They were also characterized by gilding and scrolling curves. His style of painting was influential to many artists of his era and helped the later movements in Italian art.

He had Giuseppe Nogari as his pupil. Giuseppe also became another renowned rococo painter in the 18th century. Among the students he taught were artists such as Joseph Wagner, Charles Joseph Flipart, Pietro Antonio Novelli, Michelangelo Morlaiter, and Antonio Zucchi.

One of the major turning points of his career was moving to England. He also convinced another painter Canaletto to move to England owing to ample patronage there. In 1730, Jacopo moved to England and began painting there immediately. He painted mythological subjects and large decorative histories. He painted on a canvas which was later hung as wall paintings.

Some of the places where he painted were Moor Park, Pown House, Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Wolterton Hall, and the Covent Garden Theatre.

However, Jacopo also got tired of painting large decorative wall paintings and began accepting commissions to draw portraits. During this period, he painted most of his portraits. English nobles paid well as Jacopo was known as a ‘fashionable portrait painter’.

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He also became a favourite at the royal English court. King George II and Queen Caroline hired him to draw portraits. He also painted portraits of many other members of the English royalty.

Other than painting, Jacopo also discovered other avenues to make art. Documents clearly state that at one point, he got into set design and engraving. Perhaps, he also tried to set up a print shop in partnership with one of his pupils.

In the 10 years between 1729 and 1739 that Jacopo lived in England, it is known as the time when Jacopo painted some of his best paintings. However, among the native English artists, his popularity was a major cause for concern. English art critics frequently criticized his work in derogatory manners. However, it was known that the criticism was not towards his paintings, but more towards the fact that he was extremely popular among wealthy patrons, thus the local artists’ worth had become less during the time that he spent there.

From London he travelled to Naples and then to Venice. He painted portraits of some celebrated personalities there. In 1747 he travelled to Madrid, Spain. He was encouraged to travel there by Farinelli, who was one of Jacopo’s old patrons. Farinelli held a court in Spain.

Jacopo was thus hired as the court painter of the King Ferdinand VI of Spain. One of the most popular portraits had Metastasio, Farinelli, and Teresa Castellini in it, along with an unidentified young man. This unknown man is widely touted to be the Austrian Archduke Joseph, the heir to the Spanish throne. In Spain, he also took the position of director of the Royal Academy of Saint Fernando. Thereafter, he settled in Madrid and lived and worked there until his death.

Some of the most popular portraits by Jacopo are Portrait of a Gentleman, Portrait of a Lady, The Royal Highness Princess Amelia, Caroline Wilhemina of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Joseph Wagner.


The influence of Jacopo Amigoni’s work can be seen throughout the works of the painters of 18th century Europe. Not only in his native country Italy, but Jacopo was also a revered figure across other European countries.

His paintings greatly inspired the Rococo movement to flourish in Europe.

Other than prints of his paintings, multiple tapestries, clocks and several of his designs kept his legacy alive. His decision to move away from the bold, non-subtle paintings to a much simpler and graceful style of art turned him into a pioneer.

Personal Life & Death

Jacopo Amigoni married Maria Antonia Marchesini in 1738. Not much has been known about his family. It is documented that he has a daughter named Caterina Amigoni Castellini from his marriage. Caterina also became a popular painter.

Jacopo passed away in 1752. The exact date and cause of his death are still unknown.

See the events in life of Jacopo Amigoni in Chronological Order

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