Francesco Fontebasso

Born: Venice - 4 October 1707
Died: Venice - 31 May 1769

A student of Sebastiano Ricci and a disciple of Giovanni Batista Tiepolo, Francesco Fontebasso was one of the leading Venetian artists of his day, a prolific painter of ceiling frescoes, and a pioneer of the grisaille style (a term for painting executed entirely in monochrome or near-monochrome, usually in shades of grey). In 1761, Fontebasso came to Saint Petersburg on the invitation of Catherine the Great and produced ceiling paintings and decorations in the Winter Palace. Unfortunately, these works did not survive into the modern era. Fontebasso returned to his native Italy in 1768, and died the following year. His works are displayed in many of the world's greatest art galleries, including the Metropolitan Museum and the Louvre.

Works: Rachel hiding the Idols from her father Laban (Hermitage Museum), The Last Supper (Hermitage Museum), Portrait of oculist F. Tadini (State Russian Museum)