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date: 17 January 2020

Cipriani, Giovanni Battistalocked

(b Florence, 1727; d London, Dec 14, 1785).
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(b Florence, 1727; d London, Dec 14, 1785).

Italian painter, draughtsman and designer, active in England.

Cipriani trained in Florence under the direction of the Anglo-Florentine artist Ignazio Enrico Hugford; in his early works he was also influenced by the Baroque style of Anton Domenico Gabbiani. His first commissions, for the organ screen in S Maddalena dei Pazzi, Florence, and for two altarpieces in Pistoia (both now in S Bartolomeo), are undistinguished and tentative works that still show traces of the Baroque style. His modest Self-portrait (c. 1750; Florence, Uffizi) demonstrates Cipriani’s incipient ability as a draughtsman. In 1750 he went to Rome, where he came into contact with English artists on the Grand Tour. He became friendly with William Chambers and Joseph Wilton—proponents of a Neo-classical style of architecture and sculpture respectively. In 1755 Chambers and Wilton took him to London; he settled there, marrying an Englishwoman in 1761.

In London, Cipriani was immediately in demand as one of the first exponents of a developing Neo-classical decorative style. He was an instructor with Wilton at the Duke of Richmond’s gallery in Whitehall and a member of the St Martin’s Lane Academy. He was a founder-member of the Royal Academy, where he exhibited pictures and drawings, primarily of Classical and religious subjects, between ...

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Dictionary of National Biography, 63 vols and suppls (London, 1885–)
U. Thieme and F. Becker, eds: Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, 37 vols (Leipzig, 1907–50) [see also Meissner above]