Pompeo Batoni was born in 1708 in Lucca, the son of a goldsmith. He moved to Rome when he was about twenty, and was possibly apprenticed by Sebastiano Conca. In 1741 he was accepted into the Accademia di San Luca, and began to receive independent commissions. He became very successful and fashionable in Rome, and befriended the art historian and archaeologist Winkelmann. He was especially popular with the British Grand Tourists, who would often commission portraits of themselves within the antiquities or ruins of Rome. In 1760, the painter Benjamin West, while visiting Rome would complain that Italian artists ‘talked of nothing, looked at nothing but the works of Pompeo Batoni’. Batoni was also commissioned by Pope Pius VI and the Austrian Royal family, thus gaining popularity further afield. He married twice and had twelve children. Three of Batoni’s sons would assist him in his studio. He died in 1787 in Rome.