Boldini, Giovanni

BORN 31 Dec 1842, Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna - DIED 11 Jul 1931, Paris
CAUSE OF DEATH pneumonia
GRAVE LOCATION Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna: Cimitero Monumentale della Certosa (Ampliamento, jewish section)

Giovanni Boldini was the son of a painter of religious subjects. He went to Florence in 1862 where he studied painting. There he met the Macchiaioli group of painters, who influenced his landscape paintings. But he was best known for his portraits.

In 1866 he travelled to Naples with his friend the painter Cristiano Banti (1824-1904). They also travelled to France, where he met Sisley and Manet. The politician William Cornwallis-West invited him to London in 1870 and there he painted Lady Holland and the Duchess of Westminster.

In 1871 he settled in Paris, where soon he started a relationship with a young model named Bertha. the affair probably lasted for a decade and he painted her many times. In Paris he befriended Edgar Degas and his portraits became very fashionable. He often travelled to Holland to see the works of Frans Hals, one of his favourite artists. In 1886 he painted Verdi and Verdi invited him in 1887 to the first performance of "Othello" in Milan. In 1889 he was the commisioner of the Italian department of the Paris Exposition and he was awarded the Légion d'honneur because of this. One of his portraits that was shown there was his "Portrait of Emiliana Concha de Ossa".

Although he had lived with Berthe and Countess Gabrielle de Rasty had been his lover as well, he had never married until he met the young Emilia Cardona. They married her in 1929 and stated that he couldn't help it that he suddenly was so old. He died in Paris in 1931.

Related persons
• painted Casati, Luisa, Marchesa
• painted Cavalieri, Lina
• was a friend of Degas, Edgar
• painted Degas, Edgar
• painted Gauthier-Villars, Henri
• painted Lantelme, Geneviève
• painted Mérode, Cléo de
• painted Montesquiou-Fezensac, Robert, Comte de
• painted Réjane
• painted Sargent, John Singer
• painted Verdi, Giuseppe
• painted Whistler, James MacNeill


Plaque at the house in the via Savonarola, Ferrara where Giovanni Boldini was born.
Picture by Androom (20 Feb 2019)


Plaque at the house in the via Savonarola, Ferrara where Giovanni Boldini was born.
Picture by Androom (20 Feb 2019)


The grave of Giovanni Boldini at the Cimitero Monumentale della Certosa in Ferrara.
Picture by Androom (20 Feb 2019)


"Miss Bell".
   (1903, Genova-Nervi: Raccolte Frugone, Villa Grimaldi Fassio)

"Gertrude Elizabeth Blood, Lady Colin Campbell".
   (c1897, London: National Portrait Gallery)

Giovanni Boldini - Wikipedia

Boller, Carlo

Published: 26 Jan 2020
Last update: 23 Nov 2023