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Gavin Hamilton (1723 – 1798), the Scottish-born painter who spent most of his life in Italy, was one of the most prominent

figures among the artists and collectors of 18th-century Europe: it was the glorious period of the Grand Tour.

He has been also an art dealer and archaeologist.

As an art dealer he bought Leonardo da Vinci's Virgin of the Rocks and sent it to London

for sale, that is the version now held by the National Gallery, London.

As an archaeologist he undertook excavations in various archaeological sites,

one above all, the Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli in 1769–1771.

Gavin Hamilton worked closely with Giovanni Battista Piranesi and was also an early advisor

of Antonio Canova: his acquaintances and activities made him an arbiter of neoclassical taste.

 These are three of hist most famous cycle of six large paintings from Homer's Iliad painted

between 1782 and 1784, held by the Palazzo Braschi, Rome:

The death of Achilles, The abduction of Helen

and Venus giving Helen

to Paris as his

wife.

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