GIOVANNI BOLDINI: THE MAGICIAN OF MOVEMENT

Image Courtesy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Boldini

Reflecting passion with elegance through bold and fluid brushstrokes, the dazzling portraits of Italian genre painter Giovanni Boldini are famous for their ‘whiplash' style. Son of a painter and restorer, Boldini was born on 31 December 1842 in Ferrara, Italy. A gifted talent, Boldini attended the Accademia de Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts) in Florence in 1862. There he met the circle of Tuskan realist painters, known as ‘Macchiaioli’, developing a particularly close friendship with Telemaco Signorini and Christiano Banti. Their considerable influence is seen in Boldini's landscapes which show his spontaneous response to nature.

During a visit to Paris for the Exposition Universelle in 1867, Boldini was influenced by the paintings of Courbet,  Manet and Degas, with whom he later established a lifelong friendship. In 1889, he was nominated commissioner of the Italian section of Paris Exposition and received the  “Legion d'honneur”.

While in Paris Boldini painted a series of small-scale works of eighteenth-century and Empire scenes but also concentrated on the scenes of Parisian life and pictures of elegantly dressed women, most of which were commissioned and sold by the art dealer Goupil.

Celebrated as the most efficient portrait painter of his time, Boldini quickly rose to prominence in Parisian art circle. In 1897 he had a solo exhibition in New York. Frequently participated in Venice Biennale in 1895, 1903, 1905, and 1912, Boldini became famous as the “magician of the movement”.

A Boldini portrait of his former muse “Marthe de Florian” was discovered in 2010 in a Paris flat and recently fetched EUR 2.1 million in a frenzied bidding, making a record for one of the artist work.

Boldini painted the portraits of other painters such as James A McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, and Paul-César Helleu. There is a Boldini museum in his native city Ferrara after his name. Among his better-known works are “A Summer Stroll”, “At the Piano”, “After the Orgy”, “Count Robert se Montesquiou”, “The duchess of Marlborough”, “The princess von Hohenlohe” and “Spring Flowers” etc.

Leaving behind his dazzling portraits, the  “magician of movement” died on 11 July 1931 in Paris.


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