Francesco Fontebasso trained with Sebastiano Ricci, but it was another Venetian artist, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, who probably had the greatest influence on Fontebasso's art. Early in his training, Fontebasso studied Tiepolo's frescoes and eventually came in contact with the venerated artist. Settling in Venice, Fontebasso increasingly emulated Tiepolo in his palette and compositional designs.
By the 1740s, Fontebasso had established himself as a leading artist in Venice. Mainly active as a decorator of churches and palaces, Fontebasso worked both in fresco and on canvas. Like Tiepolo, Fontebasso also produced pen-and-wash drawings and executed numerous book illustrations. In 1761, Fontebasso visited Saint Petersburg and produced ceiling paintings and decorations for the Winter Palace. Sadly, like several other of his major decorative projects, this work was eventually destroyed. Fontebasso returned to Venice in 1768 and was elected president of the Académie Royale. He died the following year.