The Backgammon Players

Pencil, watercolour & bodycolour
Signed upper left
Image size:
Acid free mount and gilt orientalist frame

Born to a military and banking family in Rome in 1858, Rosati studied painting at the San Luca Academy in Rome from 1875, under the painter, architect and poet Francesco Podesti (1800-1895) and the portraitist and history painter, Dario Querci (born 1831). However, Rosati soon tired of their academic style of training and went on to study under the fashionable genre painter, Luis Alvarez Catala (1836-1901), who later became the director of the Prado Museum in Madrid. He was probably inspired to paint Orientalist scenes by the Spanish artist, Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (1838-1874), whose paintings were immensely popular in Rome during the 1860s.

Rosati was one of the most prolific Orientalist painters at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century, Rosati painted in both oil and watercolour, although he is more renowned today for his watercolours. His paintings are appealing for their wealth of detail and colour, possessing an almost photographic quality. He is particularly good at depicting the intricate patterns of oriental rugs. His favourite scenes are bazaars, encampments of armed horsemen and harem girls.

Most of Rosati’s work left Italy and found its way into private collections in England, France and America, although today many are to be found in the Middle East with their renewed popularity and now considerable value. His son, Alberto Rosati, painted in a similar manner, greatly showing the influence of his father, but was not as prolific.

Rosati died in Rome on 16th February 1917.

Benezit, Vol IX (1976), p87
‘Pittori Italiano di Ottocento ‘A.M Comanducci Milan (1935)
A.M Comanducci ‘Dizionario ill. Pittori E Incisori Ital. Mo (1945) p. 696
‘Les Orientalistes de l’Ecole Italienne’ by Caroline Juler, ACR Editions Paris (1987), pp.220-222
‘La Femme dans la Peinture Orientaliste’ Lynne Thornton, ACR Editions Paris (1993), p252
‘Les Orientalistes Peintres Voyageurs 1828-1908’, Lynne Thornton, ACR Editions Paris (1983), p.234
‘Najd Collection of Orientalist Paintings’  Caroline Juler, (1991), p209
Thieme-Becker ‘Kunstlerlex’ 29 (1935) p.5