Lampi was a well respected and sought after portrait painter in several countries. He studied with his uncle in Salzberg before travelling to Vienna in 1783, where he quickly became the foremost portrait painter in court circles. In 1788, shortly after being appointed professor of history painting at the Akademi der Bildenden Künst, Lampi was invited by the King of Poland to Warsaw. Whilst there he received a large number of commissions before being summonded to Russia by Catherine the Great - whose portrait he painted in 1794. Lampi returned to Austria in 1797 where he played an active role in defending Vienna and its artistic heritage during the Napoleonic Wars.