Brilliant Italian artist, to whom fate has measured too little time for great achievements
Giuseppe Bossi (August 11, 1777 November 9, 1815) is a famous Italian artist of the late 18th early 19th centuries, a prominent representative of the neoclassical style in European painting. Giuseppe Bossi was also an outstanding writer, art theorist and passionate collector of paintings by ancient masters. The best masterpieces of his work are today in museums in Italy, and there are many interesting facts in the biography of this extraordinary man.
Giuseppe Bossi devoted a lot of time and effort to the study of the creative heritage of Leonardo da Vinci, created many skillful copies of the works of the genius artist. In addition, he wrote a series of books detailing all periods of the life of his great countryman.
Biography of Giuseppe Bossi
Giuseppe Bossi was born on August 11, 1777 in the small town of Busto Arsizio near Milan in the family of an official. He received a diploma of secondary education at Monza College, where he took drawing lessons and acquired his first practical skills in painting. After graduating from college, the young Giuseppe entered the Milan Academy of Arts, from which he graduated with honors in 1797 and became a Roman Prize Fellow.
Bossi spent the next three years in the capital of Italy, where he was able to personally get acquainted with the work of the great masters of the Renaissance. In addition, in Rome, the young artist made many sketches of ancient ruins, and, following the example of his idol da Vinci, often visited the city morgue to study in detail the structure of the human body.
Upon his return to Milan, 23-year-old Giuseppe became close to a group of young artists supporters of neoclassicism. Together they formed the creative union Cameretta Portiana, whose main goal was to popularize progressive ideas in the visual arts. In addition to Bossi, the group included Gaetano Cattaneo, Carlo Porta and Giuseppe Taverna.
At the same time, the young painter was appointed assistant secretary of the Milan Academy of Arts
In 1802 he already became the secretary of this prestigious organization. Bossi made a lot of efforts to replenish the collection of the famous Pinakothek, was involved in the development of a new charter for the Academy and proposed a number of reforms to the education system.
In 1805, the first scientific work of Giuseppe Bossi, entitled “On the Political Benefits of the Art of Design”, was published. In it, the young author argued that art is the most important stimulator for the formation of a healthy civil society. The book caused a lot of controversy in the artistic environment of Milan and contributed to the growth of the painter’s popularity.
In addition to performing numerous duties at the Academy of Arts, Giuseppe also found time to paint.
His creative heritage includes works of the historical genre, single and group portraits of his contemporaries, as well as a huge number of all kinds of drawings.
On the personal order of the governor of Milan, Giuseppe Bossi created a skillful copy of the famous fresco “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, which at that time was already in a deplorable state. His work later served as the basis for the manufacture of a grandiose mosaic installed in one of the churches in Vienna.
In 1807, the artist left the academy and from that moment on he devoted most of his time to writing books about Leonardo da Vinci. The author has supplemented his own scientific research with many original drawings depicting scenes from the life of the great genius. At the same time, Giuseppe began to keep a detailed diary, which today serves as a unique source of information about the artistic life of Milan at the beginning of the 19th century.
Fascinated by scientific and creative activities, Bossy was sorely lacking time for his personal life, he was never married and did not have children. It seemed that a brilliant future and the well-deserved fame of the great painter awaited him. But on November 9, 1815, Giuseppe Bossi died suddenly at the age of 38. His remains were interred in the modest Milan Gentilino cemetery, which was demolished by local authorities in 1895. Therefore, the grave of the great Italian has not survived to this day, but his bust, created by the sculptor Camillo Pacetti, is still in the Pinacoteca art gallery.
The most famous paintings by Giuseppe Bossi
During his short life, the famous Italian painter created many wonderful works. And yet, some of the most famous paintings by Giuseppe Bossi include:
- The Lady with the Dog and the Drum (1798) is a brilliant example of a ceremonial female portrait of the late 18th century. The charming heroine of the work in a luxurious outfit coquettishly looks at the viewer, leaning her elbows on the back of a comfortable sofa.
- “Blind Oedipus Meets His Daughter” (1803) is an original painting by the master, painted in gray-brown tones. The artist deliberately sacrificed a variety of color palette in order to better convey the drama of the situation and the emotions of the characters.
- The Funeral of Themistocles (1805) is a large-scale multi-figured painting by the author, executed in the best traditions of neoclassicism. According to legend, the great Greek commander died in a foreign land, where he was buried.
- “Group portrait of the members of the creative union Cameretta Portiana” (1809) a work through which the modern viewer can see the faces of friends-artists, united by a common idea. The author of the picture modestly placed himself on the far left in the shadow of his friends, although it was he who was the main driving force of the creative union.