Domenico Tojetti, 1806-1892, Painter of Progress of America, 1875
Tojetti came to California at the age of 65 in 1871 as a prominent artist.
He had studied in Rome and Paris and later became a professor at the Academy
in Rome. Commissioned (paid to paint a specific work) by the Vatican and
European princes and kings, he also restored a number of paintings in the
Tojetti accepted an appointment as the head of a proposed Academy of
Fine Arts for Guatemala. He and his family--a wife, two sons, and a daughter-- traveled
around the Horn. They survived a shipwreck, but lost all their possessions.
Tojetti established the Academy of Fine Arts and taught until his health
was affected by the climate. The Tojettis traveled to Mexico City and stayed
there briefly. Then they moved on to San Francisco.
In San Francisco, Tojetti and his two sons, also artists, painted frescoes
and religious paintings for Catholic churches. They also accepted commissions
for portraits and allegorical paintings. (Allegorical paintings use fictional
figures and actions that are symbolic of truths to make a statement about
human conduct or experience.) Tojetti also taught portraiture at the School
of Design, had many private students and painted in the style of the Vatican
court. Tojetti continued to speak Italian in San Francisco. He died at
home in San Francisco, 223 Leavenworth Street, on March 28, 1892.*
*The West as America: Reinterpreting Images of the Frontier, 1820-1920,
William H. Truettner, ed., Smithsonian Institution Press.