BORN 20 Dec 1804, Roma, Lazio - DIED 30 Apr 1884, Bucharest|
REAL NAME Mercuri, Paolo Baldassarre
GRAVE LOCATION Roma, Lazio: Cimitero Monumentale del Verano, Piazzale del Verano, 1 (entrance)
Paolo Mercuri was born in a farmhouse near Porta Portese as the son of Vincenzo Mercuri. During the Napoleontic occupation of the Papal State his father was forced to sell his property that included a vineyard. The family moved to Marino where his father rented another vineyard. They lived in an abandoned Augustinian convent, where Paolo showed his drawing skills by copying old prints that the friars had left behind. His mother died in 1813 and from 1816 he lived at the hospice of San Michele a Ripa Grande in Rome. He entered the Academy of San Luca in 1819 and studied the works of art in the Vatican. His fellow student L. Calamatta became a close and lasting friend.
Antonio Canova noticed his work and recommended him to Cardinal Ercole Consalvi, who brought him to the attention of Pope Pius VII. The Pope granted him an allowance and he worked in Rome. After his father died he went to Paris in 1830. There he finished the illustrations for the fables of La Fontaine that he was creating in collaboration with the author Felix Feuillet. He created engravings of famous paintings for French publishers. In 1848 he was recalled to Rome by Pope Pius IX to become the head of the Central Chalcography. In 1850 he married Anna Maria Cenci. They had three children, but only their daughter Enrica survived.
He was the director of the Calcography until 1875. After his retirement he moved to Bucharest to live with Enrica. After his death there in 1884 his body was returned to Rome and buried at the Verano cemetery.
illustrated work of La Fontaine, Jean de