Francesco Fontebasso received his training in the workshop of Sebastiano Ricci, who together with Giambattista Tiepolo exercised a great influence on his art. To complete his study, he proceeded to Rome and Bologna in the late 1720s. In 1732 he worked in Udine, where he probably saw Tiepolo's frescoes in the Cathedral and the Archbishop's Palace. In 1734 Fontebasso painted the ceiling frescoes in the Jesuit Church in Venice, and in 1736 painted the Annunziata church in Trento (destroyed). He produced his most important frescoes in Venice's Palazzo Duodo (1743-1752) and Palazzo Barbarigo (1745). At this same time, he painted the ceiling fresco in the Palazzo Bernardi. In 1755 he was a founding member - with Gaspare Diziani - of Venice's Academy, of which he served as president in 1768. For the bishop of Trento, in 1759 he executed a series of paintings for the Castello del Buonconsiglio, and in 1761 he was invited to St Petersburg by Catherine II to decorate the Winter Palace with frescoes and paintings. He returned to Venice in 1762. As one of his last works, he produced the four scenes from the life of St Francis in the Chapel of St Peter of Alcantara in San Francesco della Vigna in 1765. Fontebasso not only worked as a history painter; he was also an outstanding draughtsman. He created pen sketches as well as watercoloured drawings with depictions of historical and biblical scenes that were already being collected as autonomous works during his lifetime.