Pietro Annigoni – a unique master of the portrait genre in the painting of the twentieth century: biography and paintings of the artist
Pietro Annigoni (born June 7, 1910 – died October 28, 1988) is a famous Italian artist of the twentieth century, a master of portrait painting, sculptor, frescoist and engraver. The work of Pietro Annigoni is a unique example of contemporary art in the best traditions of the Renaissance. His paintings are painted in the style of classical realism and romanticism, full of harmony and vitality.
Pietro Annigoni was a fierce opponent of avant-garde and modernism in contemporary painting. He drew inspiration for his works from the works of the great masters of the Renaissance and was always in fierce opposition to abstract art.
Pietro Annigoni was born on June 7, 1910 in Milan into an international family. His American mother was a housewife, and his father was a famous engineer in the city. Two other brothers of the future artist (Giovanni and Ricciardo) chose a military career, and Pietro became interested in art from childhood.
Even while studying at the gymnasium, and later at the elite lyceum, the boy discovered a passion for drawing. He sat for hours in the library, where he tried to copy the drawings of the great Leonardo da Vinci. In 1925, the young man’s father was offered to lead a major technical project to install an automatic telephone line in Florence, and the whole family moved to this ancient city. Here, after graduating from high school, Pietro entered the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts, founded in 1563 by the Duke Cosimo Medici.
While studying at the Academy, Pietro Annigoni studied the art of painting, sculpture and engraving. Already in 1932, the artist’s first personal exhibition took place in the Florentine Bellini Gallery, which brought him wide fame. In 1936, the second exhibition of paintings by the young painter was held in Milan with great success, after which he went on a trip to European countries. During this trip, the artist got a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the work of the great masters of the Northern Renaissance. Inspired by what he saw, Pietro creates a series of gouache landscapes, warmly received by critics.
In 1937, on his return from a trip, Pietro Annigoni marries Anna Magini
She revealed to him two children – Benedetto’s son and Maria’s daughter. The great master will keep warm feelings for Anna until the end of his life, although the spouses will divorce in 1954 by mutual agreement. After the Second World War, a comprehensive democratization of society began in Italy. This leads to the rapid development of abstractionism in painting. But Annigoni remains true to the traditional classical tradition in art. Together with a group of like-minded people, he openly opposes numerous new informal movements, but finds himself in the minority.
And a little later, the world-wide fame comes to the artist. In 1956 he painted the famous portrait of the young British Queen Elizabeth. This work became a turning point in his career. Pietro received the informal title of royal artist and henceforth receives many orders from the most influential people to paint portraits. Pietro Annigoni traveled a lot around the world, discovering the beauty of different parts of the Earth.
In addition to painting, a significant part of the master’s creative heritage is made up of bright frescoes. Annigoni took great pleasure in painting the walls and ceilings of churches, monasteries, basilicas, cathedrals and chapels in different parts of Italy, and created altar paintings.
Pietro Annigoni continued to work diligently until his death on October 28, 1988. The cause of death of the master was acute renal failure as a result of gastric ulcer surgery.
Pietro Annigoni in his works managed to revive the long traditions of the masters of the Renaissance and thus earned the recognition of his contemporaries.