A pupil of Giovanni Marracci, Lombardi was one of the leading Lucchese painters of the first half of the eighteenth century, along with Pompeo Batoni (who left to go to Rome in 1727), the landscapist Gaetano Vetturali and the history painter Giovanni Battista Benigni. Lombardi was well-traveled and influenced by Roman, Florentine and French painting.
This painting shows the interior of a palace with several scenes from the everyday lives of the nobility of eighteenth-century Lucca. In the left foreground a family group is depicted: the paterfamilias surrounded by his wife and children, their music teacher and two priests. These are likely to be portraits and may represent members of the Mansi family. The remainder of the salon is filled with small groups engaged in the kind of activities one might expect to find in an elegant Lucchese palace. The grandeur of the salon, the boldly painted rococo statuary and the view into the splendid garden all combine to give a feeling of wealth and elegant living.
The influence of Watteau and Lancret, whose works Lombardi would have known through engravings, may be seen in the figures' clothes. The palette reveals Lombardi's familiarity with the paintings of Giuseppe Maria Crespi, while the various scenes recall the work of the Venetian genre painter, Pietro Longhi.
We are grateful to Professor Dr. Franco Moro for confirming the attribution to Lombardi. Prof. Moro plans to discuss this work in a forthcoming publication.