Francesco Hayez

Last updated

Francesco Hayez
Autoritratto a 88 anni by Francesco Hayez - Venice.jpg
Self-Portrait at the age of 88 in 1879
Born(1791-02-10)10 February 1791
Died12 February 1882(1882-02-12) (aged 91)
Nationality Italian
Known for Painting
Movement Romanticism

Francesco Hayez (Italian:  [franˈtʃesko ˈaːjets] ; 10 February 1791 – 12 February 1882) was an Italian painter, the leading artist of Romanticism in mid-19th-century Milan, renowned for his grand historical paintings, political allegories, and exceptionally fine portraits.



Francesco Hayez - Self-portrait with Tiger and Lion Francesco Hayez - Self-portrait with Tiger and Lion - Google Art Project.jpg
Francesco Hayez - Self-portrait with Tiger and Lion

Hayez came from a relatively poor family from Venice. His father, Giovanni, was of French origin while his mother, Chiara Torcella, was from Murano. The child Francesco, youngest of five sons, was brought up by his mother's sister, who had married Giovanni Binasco, a well-off shipowner and collector of art. From childhood he showed a predisposition for drawing, so his uncle apprenticed him to an art restorer. Later he became a student of the painter Francesco Maggiotto with whom he continued his studies for three years. He was admitted to the painting course of the New Academy of Fine Arts in 1806, where he studied under Teodoro Matteini. In 1809 he won a competition from the Academy of Venice for one year of study at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome. He remained in Rome until 1814, then moved to Naples where he was commissioned by Joachim Murat to paint a major work depicting Ulysses at the court of Alcinous . In the mid-1830s he attended the "Salotto Maffei" salon in Milan, hosted by Clara Maffei (whose portrait Hayez painted for her husband), and he was still in Milan in 1850 when he was appointed director of the Academy of Brera there.

Francesco Hayez lived long and was prolific. His output spanned both historic paintings, including those that would have appealed to the patriotic sensibility of his patrons. Others reflect the desire to accompany a Neoclassic style to grand themes, either from biblical or classical literature. He also painted scenes from theatrical presentations of his day. Conspicuously lacking from his output, however, are altarpieces intended for devotional display. However, after the Napoleonic invasions deconsecrated many churches and convents in Northern Italy, the region was not lacking for religious artworks that were removed either to museums or concentrated in the remaining active religious institutions. Corrado Ricci describes him as starting as a classicist but then evolving to a style of emotional tumult. [1]

The Kiss (1859) El Beso (Pinacoteca de Brera, Milan, 1859).jpg
The Kiss (1859)

His portraits have the intensity seen with Ingres and the Nazarene movement. Often sitting, the subjects dress in austere, often black and white clothing, with little to no accoutrements. While he did complete portraits for the nobility, other subjects are artists and musicians. Late in his career, he is known to have worked using photographs.

One of his favorite themes was a semi-clothed female. Often they were, like his Odalisque, evocative of oriental themes, which had been a favorite topic of Romantic painters. [2] The depictions of harems and their women allowed them the ability to paint scenes not acceptable in their society. Even his Mary Magdalene has more sensuality than religious fervor.

Among his works, his painting The Kiss was considered among his best work by contemporaries, and has only gained in esteem since then. The anonymous, unaffected gesture of the couple does not require knowledge of myth or literature to interpret, and appeals to a modern gaze. [3]

Assessment of the career of Hayez is complicated by the fact that he often did not sign or date his works. Often the date indicated from the evidence is that at which the work was acquired or sold, not of its creation. Moreover, he often painted the same compositions several times with minimal variations, or even with no variation.

Among his pupils from the Academy were Carlo Belgioioso, Amanzio Cattaneo, Alessandro Focosi, Giovanni Lamperti, Livo Pecora, Angelo Pietrasanta, Antonio Silo, Antonio Tavella, Ismaele Teglio Milla and Francesco Valaperta. [4] [5]

Self-Portrait Francesco Hayez 057.jpg
Reclining Odalisque (1839) Francesco Hayez 024.jpg
Reclining Odalisque (1839)
Portrait of Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli Francesco Hayez - Portrait of Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli - Google Art Project.jpg
Portrait of Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
See also Category:Paintings by Francesco Hayez.

See also

Related Research Articles

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres 19th-century French Neoclassical painter

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was a French Neoclassical painter. Ingres was profoundly influenced by past artistic traditions and aspired to become the guardian of academic orthodoxy against the ascendant Romantic style. Although he considered himself a painter of history in the tradition of Nicolas Poussin and Jacques-Louis David, it is his portraits, both painted and drawn, that are recognized as his greatest legacy. His expressive distortions of form and space made him an important precursor of modern art, influencing Picasso, Matisse and other modernists.

Giuseppe Crespi Italian painter (1665-1747)

Giuseppe Maria Crespi, nicknamed Lo Spagnuolo, was an Italian late Baroque painter of the Bolognese School. His eclectic output includes religious paintings and portraits, but he is now most famous for his genre paintings.

Giovanni Fattori Italian painter and engraver (1825-1908)

Giovanni Fattori was an Italian artist, one of the leaders of the group known as the Macchiaioli. He was initially a painter of historical themes and military subjects. In his middle years, inspired by the Barbizon school, he became one of the leading Italian plein-airists, painting landscapes, rural scenes, and scenes of military life. After 1884, he devoted much energy to etching.

Francesco Maffei Italian painter (1605-1660)

Francesco Maffei was an Italian painter, active in the Baroque style.

Carlo Francesco Nuvolone Italian painter (1609-1662)

Carlo Francesco Nuvolone was an Italian painter of religious subjects and portraits who was active mainly in Lombardy. He became the leading painter in Lombardy in the mid-17th century, producing works on canvas as well as frescoes. Because his style was perceived as close to that of Guido Reni he was nicknamed il Guido della Lombardia.

Cesare Mariani Italian painter (1826-1901)

Cesare Mariani was an Italian painter and architect of the late-19th century, active in Rome and Ascoli Piceno.

Filippo Abbiati painter

Filippo Abbiati (1640–1715) was an Italian painter of the early-Baroque period, active in Lombardy and Turin, together with Andrea Lanzani and Stefano Maria Legnani, he was a prominent mannerist painters from the School of Lombardy. Born in Milan, he was a pupil of the painter Antonio Busca. Alessandro Magnasco was one of his pupils along with Pietro Maggi and Giuseppe Rivola. Ticozzi claims he trained, along with Federigo Bianchi, with Carlo Francesco Nuvolone. Along with Bianchi, he painted the cupola of Sant'Alessandro Martire in Milan. Abbiati also painted a St. John preaching in the Wilderness for a church in Saronno.

Francesco Londonio painter, Engraver, and Set Designer

Francesco Londonio was an Italian painter, engraver, and scenographer, active mainly in Milan in a late-Baroque or Rococo style.

Clara Maffei Italian salon holder

Elena Clara Antonia Carrara Spinelli was an Italian woman of letters and backer of the Risorgimento, usually known by her married name of countess Clara Maffei or Chiarina Maffei.

Andrea Maffei Italian poet, translator and librettist

Andrea Maffei was an Italian poet, translator and librettist. He was born in Molina di Ledro, Trentino. A follower of Vincenzo Monti, he formed part of the 19th-century Italian classicist literary culture. Gaining laurea in jurisprudence, he moved for some years to Verona, then to Venice and finally to Milan, where in 1831 he married contessa Clara Spinelli. They separated by mutual consent on 15 June 1846.

Baldassare Verazzi Italian painter (1819-1886)

Baldassare Verazzi was an Italian painter.

<i>The Turkish Bath</i> painting by Ingres

The Turkish Bath is an oil painting by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, initially completed between 1852 and 1859, but modified in 1862. The painting depicts a group of nude women at a pool in a harem. It has an erotic style that evokes both the Near East and earlier western styles associated with mythological subject matter. The painting expands on a number of motifs that Ingres had explored in earlier paintings, in particular The Valpinçon Bather (1808) and La Grande odalisque (1814).

<i>Odalisque with Slave</i> painting by Dominique Ingres, Fogg Art Museum, 1839

Odalisque with Slave is an 1839 painting by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres commissioned by Charles Marcotte. Executed in oil on canvas, it depicts a nude odalisque, a musician, and a eunuch in a harem interior. The painting is in the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is a classic piece of Orientalism in French painting.

Giuseppe Molteni Italian painter

Giuseppe Molteni was an Italian painter.

Tranquillo Cremona Italian painter (1837-1878)

Tranquillo Cremona was an Italian painter.

Galleria dArte Moderna, Milan Modern Art Museum in Milan

The Galleria d'Arte Moderna is a modern art museum in Milan, in Lombardy in northern Italy. It is housed in the Villa Reale, at Via Palestro 16, opposite the Giardini Pubblici. The collection consists largely of Italian and European works from the 18th to the 20th centuries.

Cherubino Cornienti was an Italian painter, active in a Romantic style mainly in Northern Italy.

Luigi Boscolo was an Italian engraver, active in Venice.

Enrico Prati was an Italian painter.

Cosroe Dusi Italian painter (1808-1859)

Cosroe Dusi was an Italian painter in the Neoclassical style, active for many years in St Petersburg, Russia, painting mainly sacred and historical subjects. Dusi was nicknamed by his contemporaries the "modern Tintoretto", for his liveliness of invention and rapidity at painting.


  1. Corrado Ricci (1911) Art in Northern Italy . New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 95.
  2. See Ingres' Grande Odalisque
  3. Alfredo Melani (1905). "Tranquillo Cremona - Painter," Studio International, Vol. 33, pp. 43-45.
  4. Delle arti del designo e degli artisti nelle provincie di Lombardia dal 1777-1862 by Antonio Caini (1862). Presso Luigi di Giacomo Pirola, Milan. Page 61.
  5. Angelo Pietrasanta: un protagonista della pittura lombarda, by Laura Putti, Sergio Rebora, editor Silvana, 2009.