Francesco Trevisani

Princess Maria Clementina Sobieska, 1702 - 1735. Wife of Prince James Francis Edward Stuart (1719)

About this artwork

James Francis Edward Stuart, the son of the deposed King James VII and II, knew the importance of producing heirs for the continuation of the Stuart dynasty. His choice of bride was the young Polish princess, Maria Clementina Sobieska. The granddaughter of the Polish hero-king, John III, she had connections with courts across Catholic Europe and, most importantly, a massive dowry. King George I of Great Britain and Ireland tried to prevent the marriage and had Clementina arrested on her journey to Italy during the winter of 1718/19. However, after a daring rescue mission, Clementina arrived safely in Rome. This is her first official portrait. She is shown with powdered hair adorned with diamonds and pearls, and her bodice stiff with gems.

Francesco Trevisani

Francesco Trevisani

Trevisani was one of the most important painters working in Rome at the beginning of the eighteenth century. His father, who was an architect, taught him to draw before sending him to Venice to continue his artistic training. He remained there until around 1678 when he left for Rome. It was in 1696 that Trevisani really came to prominence following his execution of a series of large-scale paintings in the church of San Silvestro in Capite, Rome. Alongside his religious commissions, Trevisani also painted many important portraits including members of the exiled Jacobite court. According to the eighteenth century biographer, Nicola Pio: “no one could equal his ability for embellishing the pictures with costly dress and accessories all painted in the most realistic and lively manner possible”