A Souvenir Portrait
When you go on a trip with your family, do you have someone take a picture of you to help you remember the places you visited? In the 1700s, when the painting you see here was made, people didn't have cameras, so they couldn't just take snapshots. Instead, they often hired artists to paint their portraits.
That's what Englishman John Talbot did when he went to Italy at the age of 23 for his Grand Tour, a trip to see the sights of Europe. Talbot considered himself to be an important person, so he knew he had to have his picture painted by a famous artist. He arranged to have Pompeo Batoni paint him standing near two popular ancient Roman sculptures.
Do you see the spaniel? That was Talbot's own hunting dog, who made the trip to Italy with his master.
When Talbot returned to his home in England, this painting helped him remember the great artworks he had seen in Italy. It also showed his friends and family what an educated and cultured person he was and how elegant and stylish he looked during his travels!
Look for a snapshot of yourself on vacation and show it to your friends. Can they tell where you were just by looking at the background? Talbot's friends knew right away that he had visited Rome when they saw his portrait by Batoni.