An exhibition dedicated to painter Giovanni Boldini will soon be added to the long list of cultural initiatives associated with Pistoia’s year as Capital of Italian Culture. The show is aptly focused on the period the Ferrara-born master spent in Tuscany during his youth: titled “Giovanni Boldini. La Stagione della Falconiera” (The Season of [Villa La] Falconiera), it will run at the Museo dell’Antico Palazzo dei Vescovi from September 9 to January 6.
Established by the Gruppo Intesa Sanpaolo bank and curated by Francesca Dini with Andrea Baldinotti and Vincenzo Farinella, the exhibition takes inspiration from a cycle of tempera mural paintings that Boldini carried out toward the late 1860s at Villa La Falconiera, which at the time belonged to English patron Isabella Falconer, and today are housed in the Museo dell’Antico Palazzo dei Vescovi.
Due to various events that occurred after their completion in 1868, they were forgotten almost immediately, yet the organizers explain that these mural paintings represent “an unicum in Europe, not only for the Ferrara painter’s artistic production, but for the Macchaioli movement in general.
This was the movement to which Boldini belonged, in his own super-personal way, before his move to Paris (1871), where he would go on to become the most important international portraitist and a true icon of the Belle epoque.” For the rediscovery of these paintings, we can thank Emilia Cardona Boldini, Giovanni’s young widow and his first biographer, who went on to purchase Isabella Falconer’s villa; from 1938 forward she moved all of Boldini’s belongings out of Paris -furniture, paintings, and so forth- establishing her residence there on the property. Sixteen masterpieces from private collections and public museums, all carried out during Boldini’s Tuscan Macchiaolo years (1864-1871), will also be on display.