Alberto PASINI (Busseto, 1826 - Cavoretto, 1899)
Alberto Pasini received his artistic training at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Parma and began his career as a lithographer and landscape painter. He moved to Paris in 1851, entering the studio of Eugène Ciceri and exhibiting for the first time at the Salon of 1853. The following year Pasini transferred to the studio of Théodore Chassériau, who was responsible for introducing the young artist to the genre of Orientalism. In 1855 Pasini took the place (originally intended for Chassériau) of official artist to the delegation led by the French minister Prosper Bourée to Shah Nasi ad-din of Persia, with the aim of persuading the Shah to side with Britain and France against Russia in the Crimean War. The journey to Tehran, with the party travelling through Egypt and returning via Armenia and Turkey, resulted in numerous drawings and sketches by Pasini, as well as twelve lithographs published in Paris in 1859. Pasini returned to the Near East in 1860, visiting Cairo, the Sinai desert, Palestine, Lebanon and Athens. In 1867 he visited Constantinople at the invitation of Bourée, now the French ambassador to Turkey and a close friend and patron of the artist, and there received a commission from Sultan Abdul Aziz for four paintings for the palace at Dolmabahçe. Pasini returned to Italy in 1870, settling at Cavoretto in the Piedmontese countryside near Turin. The 1870s and 1880s found the artist at the peak of his success as a painter. He continued to travel occasionally, visiting Turkey, Asia Minor and Syria in 1873 and twice travelling to Andalusia in Spain between 1879 and 1881, but for the most part his later travels took him to Venice. He exhibited eleven paintings at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1878, winning gold medals and earning nomination to the Legion of Honour.