The Marquis and Marquise Blanch of Campolattaro
Francesco Liani (1712-1783)
1770, Oil on canvas
Francesco Liani was an artist from Fidenza, and by the time he produced these two fine paintings, in around 1770, he had already been established as the official portrait painter of the Neapolitan royal family for ten years. The marquis holds a small sword in his right hand and behind him a bicorn hat appears together with a pair of gloves; the marquise, adorned with precious earrings and a hairpin, holds a fan in her left hand and a pink carnation in her right, while a châtelaine with a watch hangs from her finely embroidered blue dress. The noble Blanch family owned the domain of Campolattaro (in the province of Benevento). From 1759 onwards, Liani’s commissions from the Bourbons began to be better documented, and they continued in the decades that followed. In his painting, he was able to combine Roman influences with references to French portraiture, and was probably influenced by Pompeo Batoni and Giuseppe Bonito (he was a pupil of the latter), and by Anton Raphael Mengs, who was also in Naples from the summer of 1759.