Francesco Antoniani – Large port with sailing ships and tower

Oil painting on canvas

Francesco Antoniani (Milano 1700-1710; Torino 1775)

Large port with sailing ships and tower

Oil painting on canvas


Characterized by large fields of color that create skilful plays of light but at the same time characterized by great finesse and attention to detail, Francesco Antoniani’s paintings are easily recognizable. Generally these are works of rather large dimensions, suitable for use as over doors or canvases of great decorative impact. Being a family-run workshop, the painters used to collaborate in the realization of the various commissions, with a stylistic communion that allows a timely comparison between the painters’ work, especially between Francesco, Paolo Maria and Pietro Antoniani. In fact, the juxtaposition of the Grand Port with the marinas of Paolo Maria, created as over doors for the palaces of the Piedmontese nobility, including the Royal Palace in Turin, is immediate.

The marine theme is dear to the painter and is addressed by him on several occasions, always in different and innovative ways. In the painting presented here he describes the port, animated by small and lively figures who carry out daily activities and which contribute to making the scene dynamic, together with the sailing ships that leave the bay in the early hours of the morning.

The work is an expression of the exquisitely eighteenth-century taste: the man, depicted with tiny dimensions, is instead related both to the imposing ruins of antiquity, represented here by the glimpse of an ancient village on which a dilapidated tower stands, and to the natural landscape, represented with particular consideration of the rendering of the luministic and atmospheric data.
The painting is presented with the original coeval carved frame, with engraving and gilding.

Dimensions: 208 x 298 cm


The Antonians were a dynasty of painters active in Turin during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, specialized in the creation of seascapes and landscapes.

Francesco Antoniani is documented in the service of the Savoy since 1743, as the author of landscapes intended for cartoons for tapestries, ancient architecture, marine, battles, trophies, garlands of flowers; his activity extends to 1775, the year of his death. He was active in various representative environments of the Savoy court, for example in the creation of various over-doors with flowers in the Queen’s Apartment, Toilet Cabinet of the hunting lodge of Stupinigi or for the dining room of the castle of Moncalieri. Also for the Piedmontese court, Francesco Antoniani was also active in Venaria, Palazzo Reale and Palazzo Chiablese.

His art is influenced by the influence of Scipione and Vittorio Amedeo Cignaroli.

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