This painter represented the Venetian school in Russia. A student of Sebastiano Ricci, he was one of the busiest painters in the field of monumental decoration, who painted “in oils and fresco, with such ease as to arose admiration.”
In Italy he worked with Tiepolo and with Giamberrino Cignaroli from Verona on the decoration of the Palazzo Barbarigo; with Diziani on the decoration of the Palazzo Bernardi, 1743-50, and the Palazzo Contarini at S. Benedetto, c. 1748, and on his own at the Palazzo Boldù, 1744-45, and the Palazzo Duolo, c. 1743.
He decorated vaults and ceilings with vividly colored, theatrical, and slightly awkward creations “without begging anything from reality.” His repertoire included allegorical and Biblical themes, and episodes from ancient history and mythology.
Certainly, in order to fully appreciate this type of ‘palace’ painting it is necessary to consider the furnishings of which it was an integral part: the stuccoes, wall hangings, gilded or lacquered furniture, lamps in Murano glass overflowing with multicolored flowers, and highly polished floors. Fontebasso worked in Russia in 1760-1762. He is the last outstanding representative of Italian monumental painting.
Painting of Venice. by Klára Garas. Corvina. Budapest. 1968.
Paintings of the 18th-early 20th centuries from the Reserves of the Russian Museum. by K. Mikhailova and G. Smirnov. Leningrad. 1982.
c.1761. Oil on canvas. 106 x 89 cm. The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.