1660 – 1738
A Portrait of a young Girl with a Spaniel
Born in the medieval village of Communanza (near Ascoli in North Western Italy), Antonio Amorosi was supposed to have become a priest. He went to Rome to commence his clerical training in 1668, aged only 8. However, on meeting the painter Giuseppe Ghezzi in 1776, he changed his mind and instead became an apprentice in Ghezzi's workshop, staying there for 11 years. His earliest known work is the portrait of the child Filippo Ricci in the Weitzner Collection in New York, which he signed and dated in 1690, thus marking his independence from his master.
By 1699 Amorosi was decorating the Palazzo Communale of Civitavecchia with fresco paintings of Pope Innocent III Receiving the Magistrates of the City and also The Madonna and San Fermo. Both works were destroyed in 1944. Further works executed in Civitavecchia include the altarpiece of Saint Gregorio and the Souls of Purgatory. A member of the Accademia di San Luca in Rome, Amorosi also produced altarpieces for several churches in Rome, notably San Rocco, Santa Maria in Cosmedin and Santa Maria Egiziaca.
Through his patron Juan Francisco Pacheco y Téllez-Girón, 4th Duke of Uceda, Amorosi was introduced to the rustic genre scenes produced by members of the so-called Bambocciante movement. This was to have a lasting effect on his choice of subjects. His subsequent works depicting ordinary people and scenes from everyday life were much in demand and brought him great success as an artist.
Private Collection, UK