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Studying with Silvestro Lega under Luigi Mussini, he frequented the sculpture workshops of Bartolini and Dupré. Joining the Caffè Michelangiolo in 1855, he was invited to Paris in 1860 by his friend the Countess of Castiglione. Returning home, he painted portraits of Cavour and Victor Emmanuel II. Official portrait painter to the House of Savoy, he was extremely popular with international high society.