About this artwork

Allan, son of the harbour master in Alloa, spent ten years in Italy, studying to be an artist. This portrait was painted while he was living in Rome. Corvi shows Allan copying a reduced size version of a renowned classical stature, the Borghese Gladiator. Copying the great works of the past was considered an essential activity in the education of a young artist.

Domenico Corvi

Domenico Corvi

Corvi was born in Viterbo, Italy, and studied with Francesco Mancini in Rome for two years. His early career was devoted to the decoration of churches in and around Rome. The years of 1764 to 1780 were the most succesful of Corvi's career. During this time he worked frequently for private patrons, such as the Borghese family, who employed the artist on a fixed salary for a decade. Corvi painted ceilings in the Palazzo Borghese as well as restoring existing frescoes. His work belongs to the tradition of Roman classicism.