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Stefano Tofanelli

Stafano Tofanelli (Lucca, 1752 – Roma, 1812) was an apprentice in the workshop of the Lucca painter Giuseppe Antonio Luchi and in 1769 moved to Rome, where he dedicated himself to the study of ancient sculpture and classicizing eighteenth–century painting. Established in the workshop of the painter Nicola Lapiccola, he collaborated on innovative decorative projects, like that of the papal palace in Castelgandolfo.

In 1781, he returned to Lucca, opened a drawing school and decorated the central salon of the Villa Mansi in Segromigno with the Stories of Apollo. His work continued to be divided between Rome and Lucca, however: in the two cities he produced a large body of portraits and the fundamental neoclassically–themed decorative project for the Palazzo Mansi in Lucca. His commissions of the subsequent decades were characterized by an increasing imitation of sculpture, as in the church of S. Antonio in Tivoli and, in Lucca, the Buonvisi Chapel in S. Frediano, the Palazzo Cittadella, the Palazzo Cenami, the Villa Mansi of Saltocchio and the Villa Reale in Marlia.

In 1802, Tofanelli moved permanently to Lucca, where he became Professor of Drawing at the University of S. Frediano and later at the Liceo Felice. Élisa Baciocchi named him the first painter of the Court and he made many portraits while in this role, today in part lost, and paintings of religious subjects, including the Sant’Emidio for the church of San Pietro Somaldi in Lucca, the Annunciation for the parish church of Camaiore, and the Assumption for the cathedral.