This is a half-length portrait of a gentleman wearing a emerald coat and intricately designed waistcoat, dated to circa 1760.
This impressive portrait was created by one of the more interesting of the many foreign painters working in Rome in the second half of the 18th century. It is notable for its striking luminosity of bold colour and the realistic depiction of fabrics such as the remarkable treatment of the lace that has been painstakingly rendered. The emerald coat is remarkable with its embroidered and expensive buttons. He is wearing a stock around his neck, which is a folded cloth fastened at the back, and a lace ruffle attached to the front of his shirt, with matching sleeve ruffles. The hand we can see is neatly tucked into his coat. This is a traditional symbol of gentility and social status in portraits.
Anton von Maron
Anton von Maron was an Austrian painter, mainly active in Rome. Von Maron was born in Vienna, but moved at a young age to Rome and settled there in 1755. Here he became a member of the Accademia di San Luca in 1766 and later a Director in 1784.
In Rome he studied under Anton Raphael Mengs and became his pupil and assistant. He had ambitions as a history painter but worked mainly as a portraitist, in a style similar – indeed sometimes deceptively close – to Batoni’s. Like Batoni, he painted many wealthy British visitors to Rome and for most of his career he was successful and respected. He received a huge number of commissions from princes, diplomats and Church dignitaries, and English aristocrats visiting Rome on their Grad Tour.
He married a sister of Mengs, Therese Mengs, who was a painter in her own right. He lived the rest of his life in Rome and died there in 1808.