Pietro Giovanni Abbati
* 1683 Parma
† 1733 Parma
The exact date of birth of Pietro Giovanni Abbati, who was a famous late baroque copper engraver, view- and decoration painter as well as stage designer, is unknown. The first relevant document is a court statement from 1683 that mentions Pietro Giovanni Abbati as witness.
Pietro Giovanni Abbati was educated and trained in the Dominican abbey S. Pietro Martire in Parma. The friars soon recognized the young boy‘s talents and sent Pietro Giovanni Abbati to study under Ferdinando Galli-Bibiena, an architect and stage painter. Pietro Giovanni Abbati maintained a close friendship with his teacher throughout his life.
It seems as if Pietro Giovanni Abbati had soon established a good reputation, which is documented in a letter of recommendation from 1706, issued by the ducal court of Parma for a stay in Venice. In 1713 he was appointed subprior of the Turine painter gild, a further proof of his recognition, and a year later Pietro Giovanni Abbati was appointed "servitor familiare" by the duke of Parma. Pietro Giovanni Abbati remained court artist, as the duke paid him a regular salary of 73 Lire between 1718 and 1733 (not in 1727).
Pietro Giovanni Abbati was an artist with many talents. He became particularly acknowledged as stage painter and was not only active in Parma, but also in Turin, Vienna or Bologna. The paintings and etchings he made are of no lesser rank. The last reference to Pietro Giovanni Abbati, who was also a successful graphic artist and engraving teacher of Giuseppe Pellizzoli and Agostino Filippi, is dated 1733 and is a final proof for the vast range of facets in Pietro Giovanni Abbati’s oeuvre: It is a payment statement documenting the acquisition of costumes for a horseriding performance.