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Andrea Locatelli

1695–1741, Rome

Andrea Locatelli received his earliest artistic education in Rome from his father Giovanni Francesco, whose activity as a painter is largely undocumented. At the age of twelve, Andrea was ­apprenticed to the obscure marine painter Monsù Alto, from whom only a few paintings have survived. Afterward, he studied, together with his painter friend Paolo Anesi, under ­Bernardino Fergioni. By 1723, Locatelli was already referred to by his ­contemporary biographer Nicola Pio as maestro and ­director of a flourishing workshop. Locatelli was much in demand, receiving many commissions from such Roman art lovers and connoisseurs as the noble Ruspoli, Albani, and Ottoboni families, as well as from foreigners who visited Rome on the Grand Tour. During this time, Locatelli maintained contact with ­leading contemporary artists like Pompeo Batoni, Corrado ­Giaquinto, and Pierre Subleyras. Despite his undisputed fame as a landscape painter, Locatelli apparently died in great poverty, according to the famous marchand-amateur Pierre-Jean Mariette. This is surprising, considering that on occasion ­Locatelli ­received higher payment for his commissions than his famous contemporary Giovanni Paolo Panini. In his authori­tative monograph on the artist, Andrea Busiri Vici describes a slow degenerative illness as the cause of Locatelli’s untimely death. The handwritten annotation by Pier Leone Ghezzi on a drawn portrait of the artist confirms this: “Il detto Lucatelli morì il 20 di Febraro 1741 in età di anni 48 et è morto spiantato senza un Giulio [a ­Roman coin] et è lassato la moglie con molti figli miseramente et è morto di gettito di sangue” (A. Busiri Vici, Andrea ­Locatelli e il paesaggio romano del Settecento, Rome 1976, p.11). After his death, Locatelli’s landscape art was soon for­gotten in Italy.