The Italian painter Pietro Longhi was born Pietro Falca, the son of the silversmith Alessandro Falca, in Venice. He was apprenticed to Antonio Balestra (1666 - 1740). He visited Bologna in 1719; there he studied under Giuseppe Maria Crespi, who exerted a great influence upon him as a genre painter. It is possible that he also came into contact there with the genre painter, Gamberini. Longhi's early genre paintings reflect Crespi's manner in color range and in subject matter.
Before 1730 Longhi was back in Venice where he became successful as a painter of small-scale canvases showing everyday Venetian life. Human activities, such as the taking of afternoon tea, a visit to nearby friends, or a game of blind man's buff, were recorded with laconic fidelity. His attention was drawn equally to the daily lives of both the aristocracy and the peasantry; he depicted the whole social hierarchy of Venice and recorded his subjects dispassionately, without condemnation or comment, recording life as a photographer might today, highlighting the spontaneity of ordinary events.
Only rarely did Longhi paint major religious compositions for churches. His art received official recognition nonetheless, and he was a founding-member of the Accademia; in 1763 he was made Director of the Academy in the Palazzo Pisani. Longhi's genre paintings may be compared with those by Hogarth in England and by Lancret and de Troy in France; Longhi would have known these works through prints. A large number of paintings by Longhi still survive in Venice: important groups are to be found in the Museo Correr, the Galleria Querini Stampalia, and in the Gallerie dell'Accademia.
We're sorry this article wasn't helpful. Tell us how we can improve.