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Giulio Rosati was born in 1857, in the Italian capital, Rome. He was the black sheep of his family, which was not involved in the arts, instead strongly built on military careers as well as banking. He became one of the most notable Orientalists of the XIX century, even though the artist never left Italy.
Rosati began his formal education at the prestigious Accademia di San Luca. There he had great painters as mentors, like the Romanticist Francesco Podesti and the Neo-Classical history painter, Dario Querci. During this period, Rosati also studied under the Spanish painter and director of Madrid’s Prado Museum, Luis Alvarez y Catalá.
The Italian’s artist greatest passion was the Northwest African culture, or the Maghreb, which appears in many of his most famous artworks. Many other European artists of this period would travel extensively to the Orient to collect artifacts and in search of new motifs to paint. This group of painters is known as the Orientalists.
Not only was Rosati the black sheep of his family, but, in a sense, he was also a black sheep in the Orientalist style. He never visited the locations he portrayed but was hugely successful in his craft and gained popularity throughout his career. Rosati also rarely partook in art exhibits, a common practice for upcoming artists. Instead, he sold his work with the help of art dealers. Rosati worked with oil on canvas, but mostly watercolor painting.
Some of Rosati’s most notable works depict the culture of the Orient, with scenes of street merchants and bathhouses. The colorful painting The Carpet Merchant shows three men negotiating bright and colorful carpets. The same motif can be seen in The Carpet Sellers and The Carpet Seller. Rosati worked with the female nude in Picking the Favorite.
In 1893, the artist had a son named Alberto Rosati, who followed in his footsteps and also became a painter. Alberto’s worked with the Orientalist style like his father but had a significantly smaller body of work. By the year 1900, Giulio Rosati exhibited an Orientalist painting in the Exposition di Belle Arte in Rome.
Giulio Rosati passed away in his home city, Rome, in the year 1917.