Agostino Brunias

1730 - Apr 2, 1796

Agostino Brunias was an Italian painter who was primarily active in the West Indies. Born in Rome around 1730, Brunias spent his early career as a painter after graduating from the Accademia di San Luca. After he befriended prominent Scottish architect Robert Adam and accompanied him back to Britain, Brunias left for the British West Indies to continue his career in painting under the tutelage of Sir William Young. Although he was primarily commissioned to paint the various planter families and their plantations in the West Indies, he also painted several scenes featuring free people of colour and cultural life in the West Indies. Brunias spent most of his West Indian career on the island of Dominica, where he would die in 1796. Historians have made disparate assessments of Brunias's works; some praised his subversive depiction of West Indian culture, while others claimed it romanticised the harshness of plantation life. Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture was a prominent admirer of his work.
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