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Amedeo Bocchi
(Parma, 24 agosto 1883 Roma, 16 dicembre 1976)

Italian painter

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.

1910 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 human beauty.

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 to painting.

( from Fondazione Monte di Parma )

 

Works: Paintings