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An Essay On Painting Written In Italian By Count Algarotti F.R.S. F.S.A. - [Epigraph] -

Francesco Algarotti count

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Saggio sopra la pittura., English.]

Variant Title

Books Printed for L. Davis and C. Reymers, in Holbourn


London,: Printed For L. Davis And C. Reymers., MDCCLXIIII.

Physical Description

vii, [1], 186, [4] p.; 157 mm. (Octavo.)


[T.p., dedic.] - Index - [Text] - [Publishers' advertisement].

Responsibility Note

The work is dedicated by Francesco Algarotti 'To The Society Instituted In London For Promoting Arts Manufactures Commerce'.


ESTC, T87196
F. Haskell, Patrons and painters (2nd. ed., 1980).
G. da Pozzo, Il testamento dell'Algarotti (1964).
Francesco Algarotti saggi, ed. G. da Pozzo (1963).

Summary Note

The work was first published in Italian at Bologna in 1762 as Saggio sopra la pittura. It was intended as a manual for painters, and was dedicated to the Society of Arts in London - with the declaration that 'if our Italian painters are soon to be excelled by the English, in the practice of their profession, it behoves us, at least, to shew that we are not inferiour to any people in the world, in the knowledge of its theory'. The text is under the following headings: Introduction; Of the first Education of a Painter; Of Anatomy; Of Perspective; Of Symmetry; Of Colouring; Of the Camera Obscura; Of Drapery; Of Landscape and Architecture; Of the Costume; Of Invention; Of Disposition; Of the Expression of the Passions; Of proper Books for a Painter; Of a Friend; Of the Importance of the Public Judgement; Of the Criticism necessary to a Painter; Of the Painter's Balance; Of Imitation; Of the Recreation of a Painter; Of the fortunate Condition of a Painter; Conclusion. Algarotti's views on painting and aesthetics are an expression of the Neoclassicism which was gaining ground in Europe in his day. The text is followed by the four-page publishers' advertisement, 'Books Printed for L. Davis and C. Reymers, in Holbourn' [n.d.].


A microfilm copy was published in 1986 (Woodbridge CT: Research Publications).


The title page is inscribed in ink, 'S. Gilchrist 1767'. A preliminary leaf is inscribed in ink, 'Bequest of Sr Augs. Callcott.'

Binding Note

18th-century calf; rebacked in 20th century retaining earlier red morocco spine-label lettered 'Algarot On Paintin'.


Painting - Theory - Aesthetics - Europe - Italy - History - 18th century - Neoclassicism
Essays - Manuals - Italy - Great Britain - Translations from Italian - Translations into English - 18th century
Publishers' advertisements - Great Britain - London - 18th century


Lockyer John Davis, publisher
Charles Reymers, publisher
S. Gilchrist, previous owner
Sir Augustus Wall Callcott RA, previous owner, donor
Royal Society of Arts (London), dedicatee