He moved to Paris in the 1780s, and soon gained the patronage of genre painter and art dealer Jean-Baptiste Lebrun, whose support allowed him to move to Rome in 1786. His paintings there attracted favorable attention, and in 1787 he married a local woman. He remained close to the Flemish community in Rome, and in 1789 was elected to head the Foundation St.-Julien-des-Flamands. He also developed ties within the French artistic community; Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun stayed with him for some days in 1789 and that same year he and she traveled with François-Guillaume Ménageot to visit Tivoli. François Marius Granet sought his advice when he arrived in Rome in 1802.
- Valentina Branchini. "Simon Denis (1755-1813) in Italia: dipinti e disegni di paesaggio". Ph.D. diss., Università di Bologna, 2002–3.
- Philip Conisbee, Sarah Faunce, and Jeremy Strick. In the Light of Italy: Corot and Early Open-Air Painting. New Haven; Yale University Press, 1996.
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