Francesco Chiarottini

1748 - 1796

Place Born


Place Died



Chiarottini is one of the most interesting and least studied Tiepolesque artists. Sent to Venice in 1760 to study with Stefano Pozzi by Count Pontotti, his formation took place under the guidance of Venetian artists such as Fontebasso and Colonna and at the Academy his teachers included Guarana, Maggiotto and Domenico Tiepolo. His earliest works, religious altarpieces for churches in the Fruili, show a number of influences – those of his Venetian mentors as well as a knowledge of Luca Giordano and Carlo Maratta, all melded into a generic form of Tiepolism.[1]

It is, however, as a fresco artist, that Chiarottini best developed his skills, commencing with the decoration of Palazzo Gorgo Maniago in Udine and the saloon of Palazzo Steffaneo Pinzani di Crauglio, probably completed before a trip to Emilia and central Italy.[2] These works all show an evolving Tiepolesque style reminiscent of Diziani and Fontebasso.

In Bologna Chiarottini was influenced by the architectural scenography of Bibiena before travelling south to Florence, Naples and Rome between 1780 and 1782. He became a regular visitor to the papal city as scenographer to the Regio Teatro Argentino.[3] The late 1780s saw an increasing production of fresco cycles in the Friuli (for instance Buttrio, Villa Bartolini Florio) where he developed an individual form of perspective and lighting and introduced monochromatic illusionistic bas reliefs again in the Tiepolo tradition. Where space was limited the artist specialised in crowding the surfaces with intricate architecture and trompe l’oeil effects and leading the spectator’s eye into infinity. Perhaps his masterpiece in this vein is the decoration of Villa Foramitti, now Moro, in Cividale 1788-90. Chiarottino spawned many imitators but their work, colder and more neo-classical, lacks the spontaneous charm and ingenuity of the master. His biographer [4] recounts that the artist had a difficult personality, prone to mordant criticism and argumentation and subject to fits of melancholy. After 1791 he showed the first incipient signs of dementia, withdrawing to his native city.


[1] Cf. The Deposition (now Venice, Accademia) or SS. Anthony and Vito, 1767 (Udine, Santuario di Castelmonte).

[2] M.Della Torre, Vita del pittore Francesco Chiaruttini, 1814, Ms. Biblioteca del Museo Archeologico, Cividale del Friuli.

[3] The Gazetta di Roma in 1788 remarks how he ‘again’ had returned to the city ‘for a second season’.

[4] Della Torre, op. cit., Ms. 1814.

Art Works Sold

A Fantastical Ideal Landscape with Ruins

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Historical Period: 1720-1780 Rococo
A Fantastical Ideal Landscape with Ruins