Portrait of Count Gerolamo Trevani
Gaspare Landi (1756-1830)
1797, Oil on canvas
The painting depicts a gentleman turning toward the viewer with his gaze as if taken by surprise and his mouth slightly ajar. He wears an elegant green jacket, closed in part by large buttons, from which the lace of the tie that encircles his neck peeks out. On his head he wears a wig, a typical 18th-century habit. The background is neutral, dark in color, and the light is focused on the face. The gentleman is Count Gerolamo Trevani, mentioned in a map kept at the State Archives of Piacenza as the owner of an estate called "La casa della vecchia [...] posta nel comune di Borghetto" (ASPc, Scotti Douglas da Vigoleno, Eredità calciati, cart. 2., dated May 20, 1765). The painter Gaspare Landi, born in Piacenza, after apprenticing in various painting workshops obtained a grant from Marquis Giovanni Battista Landi to study in Rome, where he moved in 1781. He worked with masters Domenico Corvi (1721-1803) and Pompeo Batoni (1708-1787), specializing in portraits and paintings of mythological subjects. In 1783 he won the prize of the Academy of Fine Arts in Parma. In 1805 Landi joined the Accademia di San Luca, where he taught theory of painting from 1812 and was its president from 1817 to 1820. He was then made a knight of the Order of the Iron Crown and the Order of St. Joseph. Around 1820 he returned to Piacenza with the intention of staying, but tired of the monotonous provincial life in 1824 he returned to Rome, where he worked on his last work the Assumption for the Church of San Francesco di Paola in Naples. He returned to Piacenza in 1829, where he died in February the following year.