b. 1702 Pitigliano, Italy, d. 1788 Florence, Italy
"If only you could see this King of landscape painters! . . . those lively and brilliant macchiette [speckles] carry one up to Paradise. Dear Zuccarelli -- thanks to you we do not have to envy the ancients."
Francesco Zuccarelli began studying very early under a Florentine landscape painter and also probably trained under a landscapist in Rome. Settling in Venice around 1732, two years after Marco Ricci's death, Zuccarelli became the city's leading landscape painter. The praises of his contemporaries, as above, underscore his popularity in his own time. In his softly colored, gentle landscapes, Zuccarelli placed more importance on lyricism than on realistic details. His Arcadian scenes with picturesque peasants earned an international reputation. In his landscapes, as a pun, Zuccarelli often included a figure with a gourd bottle, for zucco is Italian for "gourd."
Thanks largely to Joseph Smith, Canaletto's patron, Zuccarelli's works developed a strong English market. Zuccarelli visited England from 1752 to 1762 and again from 1765 to 1771. He became a founding member and president of the Royal Academy and greatly influenced English landscape painting. Elected to the Venetian Academy in 1763, Zuccarelli became its president in 1772. He also worked in Paris and in the northern Italian town of Bergamo and spent his last years in Florence. Zuccarelli created innumerable drawings, some religious paintings, engravings, and tapestry designs.
Landscape with Shepherds
Italian, about 1750