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Gavin Hamilton

Schotse neoclassicistische historieschilder en archeoloog, geboren 1723 Lanark - overleden 4 januari 1798 Rome.

Gavin Hamilton inspireerde zich direct op Poussin.

Gavin Hamilton is more widely remembered for his hunts for antiquities in the neighborhood of Rome. He came from the prominent family for which the town of Hamilton was named, which was headed by the Dukes of Hamilton.

Hamilton was educated at the University of Glasgow and studied in Rome in the 1740s, under the master Agostino Masucci. After a brief return home, he did some portrait painting in London, and returned to Rome in 1756 where he lived for the rest of his life.


Andromache Mourning the Death of Hector, 1760-63 (pen & ink and wash on paper)


Andromache Mourning the Death of Hector, 1764, Gravure door Domenico Cunego

Aside from a few portraits of friends, the Hamilton family and British people on the Grand Tour, most of his paintings, many of which are very large, were of classical Greek and Roman subjects. His most famous is a cycle of six paintings from Homer's Iliad, which, as engraved by Domenico Cunego (1727 – 1779), were disseminated widely and were enormously influential. Also influential was Hamilton's Death of Lucretia (1760s), also known as the Oath of Brutus, which inaugurated a series of "oath paintings" that include Jacques-Louis David's famous Oath of the Horatii (1784).

He painted the altar piece of the Scottish national church in Rome, Sant'Andrea degli Scozzesi, depicting the Martyrdom of St Andrew.

As an art dealer and archaeologist he undertook excavations at Hadrian's Villa in 1769-1771, at first occasioned by the need of marble for his sculptor to restore sculptures. His excavators reopened the outlet of a low-lying swampy area and "after some weeks' work underground by lamp-light and up to the knees in muddy water" retrieved sculptures from the muck where they had been thrown with timber when the sacred grove was levelled (Smith 1901:308). From 1771 Hamilton excavated other sites in the environs of Rome: Cardinal Chigi's Tor Colombaro, 1771-72, Albano, 1772, Monte Cagnolo 1772-73, Ostia 1774-75, the Villa Fonseca on the Caelian Hill in Rome, Roma Vecchia, ca 1775 Castel di Guido and Gabii. Many of the works of art recovered were sold to Hamilton's British clients, most notably to Charles Townley and to William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne at Shelburne, later Lansdowne House, London.

Gavin Hamilton worked closely with Giovanni Battista Piranesi

In 1785 he bought the version now at the National Gallery, London, of Leonardo da Vinci's Virgin of the Rocks and sent it to London for sale.

Gavin Hamilton's success, in what were already marginally shady undertakings, for the pope, in addition to claiming one-third of all excavated works, had the right to forbid export of outstanding treasures, lay in his generous offerings to the Museo Pio-Clementina, and his generosity in buying excavating rights from landowners.


Copyright, This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavin_Hamilton_%28artist%29

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