Francesco Pittoni remains one of the less well researched representatives of the Venetian Seicento. On the one hand this is a consequence of the small number of surviving works in Venice and beyond its borders, while on the other hand he has remained somewhat in the shadow of his illustrious nephew Giambattista Pittoni (1687–1767). The latter received his first encouragement as an artist from his uncle Francesco and went on to become one of the most influential figures in eighteenth-century Venetian painting alongside Giambattista Piazzetta (1683–1754) and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696–1770).
Francesco Pittoni, for his part, is considered an exponent of Venetian tenebrism, a style characterised by a darker, brownish palette and strong contrasts between light and shade. His oeuvre covers both biblical and mythological subjects and scenes from ancient history.
Several of his paintings also found their way to the Slovene lands. These date from the first two decades of the eighteenth century. In this period he painted works for the noble Lanthieri family in Gorizia and Vipava and, in all probability, as many as 24 paintings that once adorned Haasberg, a baroque country house in Planina near Rakek in Carniola. Paintings by Pittoni are also mentioned at Villa Attems in Piedimonte/Podgora near Gorizia.
Since the records of the Venetian painters’ guild (Fraglia dei pittori) show Pittoni as being absent between 1687 and 1712, we may assume that he was in our part of the world during this period.