G. Raffaelli

Giacomo Raffaelli (1743-1836) was probably the most talented mosaicist in Rome during the last quarter of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. He was one of the first, if not the first, to have worked in “mosaico in piccolo”, or micromosaic in about 1775. This new technique permitted the meticulous virtuosity that was so coveted by the connoisseurs of the neo-classic era. Raffaelli, was certainly regarded as the supreme craftsman in this technique, and worked not only for the papacy but also for foreign courts, like that of Stanislaus Poniatowski in Poland. He was invited to Russia by the imperial government but refused, accepting instead an invitation to the Milanese court of Napoleon, where his technical mastery was particularly appreciated. He produced there one of his masterpieces – the mosaic mural copy of Leonardo’s Last Supper, now in the Minoretenkirche in Vienna. Raffaelli stayed in Milan even after the fall of the Napoleonic Empire (1814), but he eventually returned to Rome.