Mark Shepheard

‘Pompeo Batoni and his Roman Sitters: Portraits of the Sforza Cesarini.’


This paper examines Pompeo Batoni’s two portraits of members of the Sforza Cesarini family: the portrait of Duke Gaetano II in Melbourne and that of a woman traditionally identified as Gaetano’s wife, which hangs today in Birmingham. It readdresses the question of the identity of the sitter in the Birmingham portrait, and explores the social function of portraiture within the Sforza Cesarini’s extensive art collection and the likely place of Batoni’s two portraits within that collection.The paper concludes with a discussion of Batoni’s portraits of Roman sitters and questions the oft-repeated view that the paucity of such portraits was the result of the low esteem in which portraiture was traditionally said to be held in eighteenth-century Italy.

This paper is the result of research carried out at the British School at Rome with the support of the Melbourne-Rome Scholarship and in collaboration with Sabrina Norlander-Eliasson, assistant director of the Swedish Institute in Rome.


Date: Monday 16th April, 6:30pm.

Venue: Jim Potter Room, Old Physics Building, University of Melbourne, Parkville.

All Welcome.

Drinks and nibbles provided (gold coin donation appreciated). The seminar will be followed by dinner in Lygon St. Please RSVP Mark Shepheard  if you plan to join us for dinner.