ANDREA APPIANI (1754 – 1817)
The Genius of Art and the Envious Ones (1805)
The image possesses the lightness of a comic episode studied on Hellenistic vases, appearing in the two-dimensional, softly tonal manner of a Pompeian fresco.
The urinating cupid who
ridicules the "envious ones" has a palette and
A classical artist who
moved in intellectual circles - he was a friend of
Parini, who starting in 1776 held lessons on history
and mythology at the Brera Academy; and of Giuseppe
Bossi - Appiani experimented in his youth with the
fresco technique, perfected through his study of
Leonardo and Raphael. Precociously approaching
neo-classical modes, he conceived his images as
sculptural friezes. In his best work, the principles
of neo-classical "good taste" are tempered by
soothing recollections of the Lombard naturalistic
tradition. In 1791 the artist visited Parma,
Bologna, Florence and Rome to obeserve the works of
the great 16th and 17th century masters. Upon
Napoleon's entry into Milan in May 1796, Appiani was
one of the most fervent advocates of the Cisalpine
Republic, of which he became the official painter.
He was to paint a series of Napoleonic portraits
widely admired even in France.