Antonio Bertaccini was born in Rome in 1823. Unfortunately, there is very little biographical information about the artist. He is a landscape painter of classical style, who during his most intense period of activity, concentrated mainly between the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s, worked in particular for foreign collectors passing through Rome.
The classical landscape: views and glimpses of Rome and the Roman countryside
His favourite subjects are undoubtedly views and vistas of the Roman countryside, in particular that around Olevano Romano and Frascati. This specific connection with Frascati, which often appears in his works, also derives from the fact that he taught figure and landscape drawing at Mondragone College from 1865 onwards. Proof of his frequent visits to Frascati can be found in some of his views, such as Porta Granara, Porta Romana, The square in front of Frascati Castle and College of Mondragone, which provide us with a clear, fresh view of the town, often enlivened by figurines that soften the monumentality of the architecture. There is also no lack of watercolours and oils entirely devoted to pure naturalistic landscapes, combining classical views with a feeling of romantic lyricism, clearly visible in the View of Lake Nemi and in Lake Castel Gandolfo.
Although he frequented the area around Rome, some sources document that Antonio Bertaccini had a studio in the central Via Sistina, a fine showcase for foreign travellers, attracted by his poetic and luminous Roman views with ruins, two of which, the Baths of Diocletian and the Aventine, are preserved in Palazzo Barberini.
Not to be overlooked is his conspicuous graphic and engraving production, in which we can observe a classicist tendency in the configuration of the view, with the happy conjunction of architectural and naturalistic elements, described in the minutest detail, as can be seen in Villa d’Este in Tivoli. A large part of the artist’s graphic production is kept at the Central Institute for Graphics in Rome, since after his death his wife sold more than five hundred drawings to the State, collected in small albums rapidly produced in pencil or watercolour ink.
As for his exhibition activity, Antonio Bertaccini sent a Roman countryside to the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867, while in 1883 he participated in the National Exhibition of Fine Arts in Rome with Marshes near Ostia. He is also known to have been present, especially in the 1980s, at the Exhibition of Amateurs and Connoisseurs in Rome, with works such as Roman Countryside – Aqueducts of Claudius and Roman Countryside – known as the Poussin Rocks.