Amedeo Bocchi (Parma, 24 agosto 1883 – Roma, 16 dicembre
Amedeo Bocchi was born in
Borgo del Parmigianino, Parma on August 24, 1883: the third of
seven children. According to the family's plans, he was supposed
to help his father Federico in the decorating profession.
Accordingly, in 1895 at the age of 12, he was enrolled at the
Royal Institute of Fine Arts in Parma, that at the time was
directed by Cecrope Barili. The years spent at the Institute
were very intense for the training of the young artist as can be
seen from the drawings which are now part of the Museum
established by the Monte di Parma Foundation at Palazzo
Sanvitale. In 1901 Bocchi obtained his diploma with honors in
figure drawing and painting.
VIn view of the excellent
results obtained by Amedeo in painting, Cecrope Barilli advised
his father, Federico to send him to Rome to attend the School of
Nude Art. So it was that, in 1902, Amedeo Bocchi left for Rome
("with a few pennies in my pocket" as he later told his
sister-in-law Rina) where he attended courses for three years at
the school in Via Ripetta.Bocchi's
main interest at this time was in social painting as can be seen
from two paintings of particular intensity, painted in 1905-06:
"The Baptism" and "The Revolt" (where we see the
faces of his sisters, Merope and Anita). In 1906 Amedeo marries
Rita (his schoolmate at the Institute of Fine Arts in Parma);
the following year he produced another important work in the
category of social painting: "The Artillery Man".
In 1908 Bocchi's first child,
Bianca, his only daughter, was born, but the following year his
wife Rita died and his life turns into tragedy.
The painter was living in Rome
at the time, in the Macao quarter where his friend Renato Brozzi
joined him later to attend The Medal School that had been
organized at the mint.
was a year of success because Bocchi was admitted for the first
time, with two paintings, to the Venetian Biennial. That same
year, while Rome was preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary
of the Italy Unity, Bocchi moved to Padova to follow Achille
Casanova who at the time was decorating the inside of the
Basilica of St. Anthony; it was a voluntary apprenticeship to
specialize in fresco techniques.
The experience obtained
enabled the painter to undertake works requiring a more complex
decorative skill. He was thus able to collaborate with a group
of Parmesan artists (Latino Barilli, Daniele de Strobel, Renato
Brozzi) on the reconstruction of the Gold Hall in the Castle of
Torrechiara (Parma), exhibited at the Ethnographic Exhibition
held in Rome in 1911.
That year, at the
International Exhibition of Valle Giulia, the splendid works of
Gustav Klimt were exhibited with those of Bocchi who had
certainly had the opportunity to admire the art of the Austrian
maestro at the Venetian Biennale the year before and who was
attracted by the seductive elegance of the Viennese Secession.
1911 was also the year of his first visit to Terracina. Bocchi
would return to Terracina in 1914 with Brozzi to share the
pleasure of working in an extraordinary place of natural and
PAlthough he never officially
subscribed to the manifesto of Roman Secession, Bocchi was
greatly impressed by the first exhibition organized by the group
of promoting artists: it was 1913 and Matisse participated with
a painting that has since become famous, his Goldfish.
The artist was by now ready for an important job and he received
it from the Cassa di Risparmio di Parma bank with the order to
decorate the Council Hall at the headquarters. Amedeo Bocchi,
who at the time was living between Parma and Rome, started
working with a rigor derived from his studies in the field of
frescoes: between 1913 and 1915 he produced a whole series of
sketches and tests on the walls before beginning the actual
painting, which was dedicated to the theme of savings.
In 1916 Bocchi finished the
decoration receiving much acclaim from the militant critics. In
the meantime, in 1915 there was a turning point in Bocchi's
life: that year he obtained the privilege of being allowed to
live in one of the studio-houses in Rome, made available to
deserving artists by a wealthy French-speaking Alsatian, Alfred
Strohl, in the park that bore his name: Villa Strohl -Fern.
Amedeo Bocchi lived in this
splendid location for the rest of his life. In 1919 Amedeo
Bocchi he married again, this time his bride was Niccolina, his
young model from Anticoli Corrado, as tradition demands.
The years that followed brought happiness and increasing
success: the Biennial, the portrait of Bianca that was awarded
the highest prize at the Monza exhibit: nomination to the
Academy of Saint Louis.
All too soon, however, other family tragedies struck the artist:
the early death of his second wife, Niccolina (in 1923) and in
1934, the tragic loss of his beloved daughter Bianca at only 26.
After that, the remaining
years were devoted to memories: in the cycle of paintings called
"Voyage of a Soul", in the encounters with the reality of
nature, with the appearance on the scene of a world, the post
war period, that suggested new customs and models, new
lifestyles. Amedeo Bocchi continued to paint, even during the
years of old age, with unending passion: until he died in his
studio-home of Villa Strohl-Fern on December 16, 1976. On the
easel there was an incomplete painting: "The Gardener".
It was his last testimony to a life dedicated to the family and
Fondazione Monte di Parma )