Recognised internationally for his iconic portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in 1956, the Italian painter Pietro Annigoni began his artistic career at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence in 1927. Annigoni perfected his technique in painting, sculpture and etching and went on to exhibit his work in Florence and at the Bellini Gallery throughout the 20’s and 30’s. Annigoni married Anna Giuseppa Maggini in 1937 and had two children with her, Benedetto and Maria Ricciarda. He later went on to marry Rosella Segreto, one of his favourite models. He gained world acclaim through his portraits of the famous and influential, including Pope John XXII, President John F. Kennedy and the Shah and Empress of Iran.
Annigoni was passionate about painting frescos in the Florentine churches and at the age of 70 painted a large fresco in the Monte Cassino monastery. This was his last and indeed his largest major work.