Gavin Hamilton

Scottish (1723 - 1798)
Gavin Hamilton Achilles Lamenting the Death of Patroclus 1760 - 1763


Born 1723
Died 1798
Nationality Scottish
Birth place North Lanarkshire
Death place Rome

Hamilton was born in Lanarkshire and educated at Glasgow University. He travelled to Rome in 1748 to study painting under Agostino Masucci. He returned to London in 1751 but decided to settle permanently in Italy in 1756 and was to remain there for the rest of his life. Hamilton's huge neoclassical paintings, with their subject matter taken from Homer and their style influenced by both Poussin and the Antique, were of fundamental importance to the development of European art. He was also active as an archaeologist and dealer, and was a friend and guide to many visiting artists and patrons.

Glossary terms

  • Paintings in which the subject is taken from biblical, classical or other mythological histories.

  • A European style of art and architecture based on Ancient Greek and Roman models, with particular importance put on simplicity and discipline. It first appeared in the 1750s after the discovery of ancient archaeological sites in Greece and Rome. Such ideals have been revived at various points in history since, and contrast with more decadent and dynamic styles such as the Baroque.