Portrait of Count Vittorio Alfieri
François-Xavier Fabre received his early training in his native city of Montpellier before entering the Paris studio of Jacques-Louis David. He was admitted to the École of the Royal Academy in 1783 on the recommendation of Joseph Marie Vien, and in 1787 he won the Prix de Rome. He later worked in Florence, where a community of French émigrés provided him with commissions for his striking portraits as well as historical and mythological subjects. Fabre’s Florentine-period portraits show the Neoclassical influence of David and are characterized by brilliant colors and precisely rendered figures with little background matter. In this painting, Fabre captures Alfieri’s proud, fiery nature and emphasizes his calling as a poet by the prominence given to the cameo ring bearing the profile of Dante.