Fausto Zonaro

(1854 - 1929)

Fausto Zonaro was born in Masi near Padua in the Veneto on 18th September 1854. His father was a bricklayer. As a youth Fausto showed an aptitude for drawing and design and studied with Federico Cordenans at the Technical Institute in Lendinara. Following this period of study Zonaro enrolled at the Accademia Cignaroli in Verona under Napoleon Nani.

Following his studies Zonaro travelled to Rome and Naples before settling in Venice where he established a studio and took in pupils, one of whom – Elisa Ponte – was to become his wife. Zonaro was a painter of portraits, landscapes and coastal scenes and rapidly gained success. He exhibited in Rome in 1883, Milan the following year and in Turin the same year and again in Milan in 1885. Northern Italy and Lombardy were the source of many patrons. In 1887 Zonaro exhibited in Venice ‘Infilatrici de Perle’ and the following year 1888 in Paris ‘Fior di Campo’, also exhibiting in Vienna, London, Rome and Barcelona. The late 1880’s saw Zonaro painting ‘en plein air’ with subjects taken from life, with a certain simplicity of manner and subject.

All this was to change in 1891 when Zonaro and his wife set out for Constantinople. He set up a studio in the city painting scenes of city life and views. He gained the patronage of both the Russian and Italian ambassadors to the Ottoman Court who brought him to the attention of the Sultan for whom he became court painter. In this role Zonaro painted on his own account and formal court works, including an official painting of the visit of Emperor Wilhelm II and Augusta Victoria to Constantinople in 1898. Zonaro also produced paintings of pageants, the court, the army and view of the city.

Following the revolution of 1908 and disputes over his role with the new government Zonaro returned to Italy in 1910 settling in San Remo. He continued to paint Orientalist subjects, memories of his time at court and continued to exhibit, Rome in 1911 Ran Remo in 1912 and again following the First World War.

Zonaro remained in San Remo until his death in 19th July 1929.

His works can be found in museums in: Genoa; Istanbul; Masi; Milan; Padua; Paris and Rapello.