23 February 1818 - 17 April 1882) was an Italian painter who lived in Meiji period Japan between 1876 and 1878. He introduced European oil painting techniques to Japan, and exerted a significant role in the development of modern Japanese yega (Western style) painting. He is known for his works in the romantic style of the French Barbizon school.
Fontanesi was born in Reggio Emilia, Emilia-Romagna, and trained with the landscape painters Prospero Minghetti and Vincenzo Carnevali. From 1841 to 1846 he made theatre sets and began painting landscapes. In 1850, he moved to Geneva, where he stayed until 1865. His main area of interest was landscape painting, which he expanded on after visiting the 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris. He participated in important artistic exhibitions, displaying his works in Lyon, Turin, Milan, Florence, Genoa and the Triennial Exhibition of Fine Art in Bologna. He was nominated professor at the Academy of Lucca, but moved to Turin when a chair as a landscape professor was created specially for him at the Accademia Albertina in Turin from 1869 to 1876.