Hayez is the most important figure in the transition from Neoclassicism to Romanticism in Italian painting, but his Romantic leanings come out mainly in subject-matter rather than in technique, the clear outlines he favoured revealing his training in Rome in the circle of Canova. He painted religious, historical, and mythological works and portraits that are sometimes thought worthy of comparison with those of Ingres. Many of the most eminent Italians of the day sat for him. For many years he taught at the Brera in Milan (he became director in 1860). Hayez was also one of the very few to seize upon the artistic possibilities of lithography at an early date.