From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Francesco Hayez (February 10, 1791, Venice - December 21, 1882, Milan) was the leading artist of Romanticism in mid-19th-century Milan, renowned for his grand historical paintings, political allegories and exceptionally fine portraits.
Hayez came from a relatively poor family. His father was of French origin while his mother, Chiara Torcella, was from Murano. The child Francisco, youngest of five sons, was brought up by his mother's sister, who had married Giovanni Binasco, a well-off shipowner and collector of art. From childhood he showed a predisposition for drawing, so his uncle apprenticed him to an art restorer. Later he becames a student of the painter Francisco Magiotto with whom he continued his studies for three years. He was admitted to the painting course of the New Academy of Fine Arts in 1806, where he studied under Teodoro Matteini. In 1809 he won a competition from the Academy of Venice for one year of study at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome. He remained in Rome until 1814, then moved to Naples where he was commissioned by Joachim Murat to paint a major work depicting "Ulysses at the court of Alcinous". In 1850 he was appointed director of the Academy of Brera in Milan.
Assessment of the career of Hayez is complicated by the fact that he often did not sign or date his works. Often the date indicated from the evidence is that at which the work was acquired or sold, not of its creation. Moreover he often painted the same compositions several times with minimal variations, or even with no variation. His early works show the influence of Ingres and the Nazarene movement. His later work participates in the Classical revival.
Notable works include:
Petro Rosso Imprisoned by the Scaligeri (c. 1820)
A series on the Sicilian Vespers (1821-1846)
Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem (c. 1867)
Portrait of Marin Faliero (1867)
Vase of flowers on the window of a harem (c. 1881)
The Kiss (1859) - Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan