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Florestano Vancini : a memoir Hit by a thunderbolt that determined a career and style of life. “In my day, it made a difference whether you were born and raised inside or outside the walls. Ferrara seemed to be a fortified place compared to that limitless countryside, poor and hard-working, and my father was only the Boara postman….” Florestano Vancini, who died on 18 September 2008 last, was physically born inside the walls, on 24 August 1926 in the hospital. However he was raised in Boara, the first village on the road to Copparo, and not “inside” the walled city.
Boldini in Paris The relationship between Boldini and French Impressionism will be explored in this great exhibition. Boldini painted a fascinating picture called Cantante mondana [“Society singer”] in the mid-1880s. It shows a snapshot of the Paris of the late nineteen-hundreds - the life, the cafés and the music halls that the artist patronised along with his friends and fellow-painters like Degas - and as such lay outside the area for which he was renowned, namely portrait painting.
It's all in the blood Impromptu thoughts of a "Dolomite-Po Valley man" My mother was tall and slim, with a consciously understated beauty; on the contrary, my athletic father was well aware of his good looks, tanned by the Cortina sun. She was from a good Ferrara family, had a diploma from the music conservatory and was anything but sporty; he was a ski and ice-hockey champion and mountain climber, from a modest family who were photography pioneers in this remote corner of Italy.
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Boldini in Paris

Written by  Barbara Guidi

Giovanni Boldini, Society singer. Ferrara: Fondazione Carife Collection, at the Gallerie d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea.The relationship between Boldini and French Impressionism will be explored in this great exhibition.

Boldini painted a fascinating picture called Cantante mondana [“Society singer”] in the mid-1880s. It shows a snapshot of the Paris of the late nineteen-hundreds - the life, the cafés and the music halls that the artist patronised along with his friends and fellow-painters like Degas - and as such lay outside the area for which he was renowned, namely portrait painting.

This exceptional painting, which became part of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Ferrara collection in 2008, and is on temporary exhibition at the Museo Giovanni Boldini, provides a Giovanni Boldini, Self-portrait observing a painting, c. 1865. Firenze, Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Palazzo Pitti. Courtesy of Ministero per i Beni e le Attivita Culturali.penetrating insight into a crucial, yet still poorly-studied, period in the career of this Ferrara-born artist. This was the stage that preceded his final, most succussful stage as a high society portrait painter, starting from the last decade of the century. «Before becoming a painter of Parisian beauties, Boldini was a painter of Paris» wrote Jean-Louis Vaudoyer in the catalogue to the posthumous exhibition held in the Charpentier Hotel in 1931. Boldini lived in Montmartre from when he arrived in Paris at the end of October 1871 up to 1886. «These were the years of the impressionist exhibitions» continued Vaudoyer, and Boldini, who slowly but surely «expanded his repertoire», «left his studio» to paint «in the streets, the flower gardens, Versailles», in the cafés or along the Seine. His work from this period was immediately eclipsed by his successGiovanni Boldini, Lazy days, 1875. Williamstown, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. © Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. as a portrait painter, however, the choices made in these fifteen years and the fruits of this work were to prove decisive for him as an artist. Now, for the first time ever, the exhibition Boldini nella Parigi degli Impressionisti[“Boldini in the Paris of the Impressionists”] will review this important chapter in the story of the artist. It will open at Palazzo dei Diamanti next September and then transfer to the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown (Massachusetts). One hundred masterpieces, some of which have never been seen before in Italy, will convey the fascination and complexity of the Boldini persona during this phase of research and experimentation. Boldini devoted himself to creating genre works in Paris and earned widespread recognition. Inspired by masters such as Meissonier and Giovanni Boldini, After a masqued party, c. 1876. Ferrara. Museo Boldini.Fortuny, Bodini updated the stereotyped genre format with his own personal variations. His extraordinary skill at rendering the preciousness of silk or the glitter of metal meant that he was immediately recognised as the most brilliant interpreter of the genre format, and the undisputed heir to the two masters. Thanks to these works and shrewd business management with European and American dealers, Boldini made his way into the most important collections of both continents, and enjoyed great critical success in America. While he was producing genre works, Boldini also painted a series of city views that impressed the critics with their unusual capacity to observe, investigGiovanni Boldini, Highway in Combes-la-Ville, 1873. Philadelphia Museum of Art, the George W. Elkins Collection. © Philadelphia Museum of Art.ate, and render the bristling life of the modern city with an increasingly personal style. Boldini did not limit himself to portraying city life during these years, he also ventured out into the countryside along the Seine, or up to the Normandy coast, where he worked on landscapes that are remarkable for their extraordinary sensitivity in depicting the atmospheric and light conditions. Sweeping landscape pictures such as Grande strada a Combes-la-Ville [“Highway of Combes-la-Ville”, ndt] the celebrated Lavandaie [“Washerwomen”, ndt], miniature tablets such as Il ritorno dalla pesca [“Back from fishing”, ndt] or vivid river scenes such as La machine de Marly [“The machine of Marly”Giovanni Boldini,Woman in black observing the “Pastello della signora Emiliana Concha de Ossa”, 1888. Ferrara, Museo Boldini., ndt] emerged from this period. Just like Degas and Manet, Boldini was attracted to the theatres and café concerts in Paris. He often visited these places and studied the main characters there. The results of these observations were mainly set down in notebooks, designs, or engravings, and Boldini only transferred a few examples onto canvas, making these works as rare as they are precious. They include the Studio per il “Caffè rosso” [Study for the “Caffè rosso”, ndt], Ritratto di Emanuele Muzio sul podio [“Portrait of Emanuele Muzio on the podium”, ndt], and the Cantante mondana mentioned above. Perhaps, after having considered Degas and Manet’s work, and through these, Velázquez’s work, Boldini initiated a very personal project, pictures of his studio Giovanni Boldini, Giuseppe Verdi wearing a top hat, 1886. Roma, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna. Courtesy of Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturaliand house, which became the main characters in a “private picture diary” of his life and works. The exhibition will also analyse the evolution of Boldini’swork as a portrait painter, through official portraits or those of friends and colleagues, up to the great masterpieces of the 1890s. These paintings mark the end of the route traced by this exhibition. As he was deciding on which career path to follow, Boldini’s great versatility and mastery allowed him to work with complete self-assurance on more than one type of style: from the classic portraits reworked in a modern key, such as the equestrian portrait of Alice Regnault, Renoir’s debtor, to a more daring and informal style such as the Contessa de Rasty sul divano [“Countess Rasty seated in an armchair”, ndt], the famous Giovanni Boldini, Cléo de Mérode, 1901. Private collection.pastel picture of Verdi, selfconfident, but yet intimate and human, or the penetrating portrait of his friend, the journalist and politician Henri Rochefort, where he even outclasses the great Manet. His direct approach to the model, an extraordinary capacity to understand and render the character, and the ability to express the subject’s vitality were the qualities that enabled Boldini to become one of the most celebrated portrait painters of his day. This is how he came to paint the portraits of the most famous personalities of the time, such as the painter Whistler, Lady Colin Campbell, or the star, Cléo de Mérode, becoming an icon in one of the most fascinating and important periods of our history, the Belle Époque.