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Pietro Annigoni - Italian Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - Pietro Annigoni (1910 - 1988)

Born in 1910, Pietro Annigoni became the only painter of his lifetime to become internationally successful as a society and state portrait artist. His career took flight in 1954 when he was commissioned to paint a portrait of Queen Elizabeth the II by the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers. The image was widely reproduced and remains his most recognized work. Following this recognition, Annigoni painted the portraits of many other famous sitters including the British Royal Family, President Kennedy, President Johnson, and Pope John XXIII. Annigoni acquired his style from the Italian masters. He also painted religious works and allegorical scenes.

Although he gained acclaim as a painter of royalty, Annigoni chose his subjects from a cross section of humanity, painting what interested him. He was not impressed by pomp and ceremony, and maintained relationships, never losing the common touch from his early days as a struggling artist.

An outspoken artist who did not refrain from iconoclasm toward his perception of passing or superficial social trends, Annigoni wrote essays challenging modern art that disregarded the basic ability to draw. He alienated critics, who claimed his art was too representational, discounting the Annigoni unique dramatic signature the artist brought to Renaissance tradition.

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