Francesco Beda

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Biography of Francesco Beda ( 1840-1900 )

Francesco Beda was an Italian painter born in 1840 in Trieste. Student of Karl von Blaas at the Academy of Venice, he specialized himself in history painting and genre scenes. 

His teacher received during the Universal exhibition of Paris in 1855 a price for his painting « Charlemagne visiting a boy’s school » currently preserved in the Venice museum. 

Beyond his history paintings and genre scenes, Francesco Beda was also known as a portraitist for European Royalty and nobility. The Empress Elisabeth of Austria, Prince Rolian or the Croatian bishop and parliamentarian Strossmayer were among his most fervent patrons.  

He progressively gave up history paintings for brighter genre scenes. His scenes are picturesque and evoke precisely the Venitian atmosphere of the 18th century. In 1922, Silvio Benco wrote that Francesco Beda painted « seven hundred elegants » highlighting Beda’s interest for graceful and gallant scenes. These small paintings were frequently compared to the style of Ernest Meissonnier.  

His Orientalist themes show a great precision with a bright palette. This colorful, vivid and shiny touch probably came from Mariano Fortuny, a Spanish painter living in Venice who was very successful around the 1870s. This period was inspired by his travel to Morocco in 1862 and his collaborative work with Jean-Léon Gérôme for the art dealer Adolphe Goupil. Some studies and watercolors are stored at the Louvre Museum.  

His paintings are always clear and precisely scripted, the drawing highlighting a great attention in the distribution of colors. 

During his whole career and until his death in 1900, the name of Francesco Beda was very prestigious in Europe, especially in England. This artistic fortune continued with his son Giulio (1879-1942) who studied in Venice and then established himself in Munich where he developed numerous Nordic scenes inspired by German figurative painting.  

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