Leonardo Bistolfi

Last updated

Leonardo Bistolfi
Leonardo Bistolfi.jpg
Born(1859-03-14)14 March 1859
Died2 September 1933(1933-09-02) (aged 74)
Nationality Italian
Education Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera
Known for Sculpture
Movement Symbolism
Stile Liberty

Leonardo Bistolfi (14 March 1859 – 2 September 1933) was an Italian sculptor, an important exponent of Italian Symbolism.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

Symbolism (arts) art movement

Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts.



Bistolfi was born in Casale Monferrato in Piedmont, north-west Italy, to Giovanni Bistolfi, a sculptor in wood, and to Angela Amisano.

Casale Monferrato Comune in Piedmont, Italy

Casale Monferrato is a town in the Piedmont region in Italy, in the province of Alessandria. It is situated about 60 km (37 mi) east of Turin on the right bank of the Po, where the river runs at the foot of the Montferrat hills. Beyond the river lies the vast plain of the Po valley.

Piedmont Region of Italy

Piedmont is a region in northwest Italy, one of the 20 regions of the country. It borders the Liguria region to the south, the Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions to the east and the Aosta Valley region to the northwest; it also borders France to the west and Switzerland to the northeast. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres (9,808 sq mi) and a population of 4,377,941 as of 30 November 2017. The capital of Piedmont is Turin.

In 1876 he enrolled in the Brera Art Academy in Milan, where his teacher was Giosuè Argenti. In 1880 he studied under Odoardo Tabacchi at the Accademia Albertina in Turin.

Milan Italian city

Milan is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,372,810 while its metropolitan city has a population of 3,245,308. Its continuously built-up urban area has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres. The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 7.5 million, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy and the 54th largest in the world. Milan served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402 and the Duchy of Milan during the medieval period and early modern age.

Giosuè Argenti Italian sculptor

Giosuè Argenti was an Italian sculptor.

Odoardo Tabacchi Italian sculptor

Odoardo Tabacchi was an Italian sculptor.


His first works (Le lavandaie (‘The Washerwomen’), Tramonto (‘Sunset’), Vespero (‘Evening’), Boaro (‘Cattle-hand’), Gli amanti (‘The Lovers’)), executed between 1880 and 1885, show the influence of the Milanese Scapigliatura . In 1882 he sculpted L'Angelo della morte (‘The Angel of Death’) for the Brayda tomb in the Turin cemetery known as the Cimitero Monumentale, and in 1883 he produced a bust of the painter Antonio Fontanesi for the Accademia Albertina: these works show a turn towards Symbolism which the artist was never to abandon.

Scapigliatura is the name of an artistic movement that developed in Italy after the Risorgimento period (1815–1871). The movement included poets, writers, musicians, painters and sculptors. The term Scapigliatura is the Italian equivalent of the French "bohème" (bohemian),and "Scapigliato" literally means "unkempt" or "dishevelled". Most of these authors have never been translated into English, hence in most cases this entry cannot have and has no detailed references to specific sources from English books and publications. However, a list of sources from Italian academic studies of the subject is included, as a list of the authors' main works in Italian.

Antonio Fontanesi Italian painter

Antonio Fontanesi was an Italian painter who lived in Meiji period Japan between 1876 and 1878. He introduced European oil painting techniques to Japan, and exerted a significant role in the development of modern Japanese yōga painting. He is known for his works in the romantic style of the French Barbizon school.

From this time until 1914 Bistolfi produced many busts, medals and portraits of prominent figures including the Piedmontese painter Lorenzo Delleani, the kings of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I, the criminologist Cesare Lombroso, the writer Edmondo De Amicis, and the publisher and journalist Emilio Treves.

Bust (sculpture) Sculpture of a persons head and shoulders

A bust is a sculpted or cast representation of the upper part of the human figure, depicting a person's head and neck, and a variable portion of the chest and shoulders. The piece is normally supported by a plinth. The bust is generally a portrait intended to record the appearance of an individual, but may sometimes represent a type. They may be of any medium used for sculpture, such as marble, bronze, terracotta, wax or wood.

Medal round piece of metal, often used as an award

A medal or medallion is a small portable artistic object, a thin disc, normally of metal, carrying a design, usually on both sides. They typically have a commemorative purpose of some kind, and many are given as awards. They may be intended to be worn, suspended from clothing or jewellery in some way. They are traditionally struck like a coin by dies.

Lorenzo Delleani Italian painter

Lorenzo Delleani was an Italian painter.

In the early 1890s he was made an honorary member of the Accademia Albertina and became secretary of the Circolo degli Artisti (‘Artists’ Circle’).

In 1892 he began a two-year task of decorating Chapel XVI of the Sacro Monte di Crea, one of the Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy which are recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Sacro Monte di Crea church building in Serralunga di Crea, Italy

The Sacro Monte di Crea is a Roman Catholic sanctuary in the comune of Serralunga di Crea, Piedmont, northern Italy. It is reached via a steeply ascending route which winds through a wooded natural park, whose flora where catalogued by the Casalese photographer and polymath Francesco Negri.

Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Sacri Montiof Piedmont and Lombardy are a series of nine calvaries or groups of chapels and other architectural features created in northern Italy during the late sixteenth century and the seventeenth century. They are dedicated to various aspects of the Christian faith and are considered of great beauty by virtue of the skill with which they have been integrated into the surrounding natural landscape of hills, forests and lakes. They also house important artistic material in the form of wall paintings and statuary. In 2003, they were named as a World Heritage Site.

UNESCO Specialised agency of the United Nations

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

In 1893 he married Maria Gusberti.

Also during the years 1892–1908 Bistolfi executed numerous funerary monuments (statues and reliefs), including the memorial plaque for André Gladis.

In 1902, along with Davide Calandra, Giorgio Ceragioli, Enrico Reycend and Enrico Thovez, he founded the magazine L'arte decorativa moderna (‘Modern Decorative Art’). During the years 1895–1905 he exhibited at a number of editions of the Venice Biennale.

In 1906 he produced a monument to the painter Giovanni Segantini La bellezza liberata dalla materia (‘Beauty liberated from matter’) known also as L'alpe (‘the Alp’), which is conserved at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome. For the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II in Rome Bistolfi produced the marble group Il sacrificio (‘Sacrifice’).

In 1923 he was made a Senatore del Regno (Senator of the Kingdom).

In 1928 Bistolfi produced the Monumento ai Caduti (war memorial) for Casale Monferrato.

Bistolfi died at La Loggia, in the province of Turin, on 2 September 1933. He was interred in the cemetery of Casale Monferrato.

His work is exhibited at La Loggia, at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, at The National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, and at the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Turin. The largest collection, however is at the Gipsoteca “Leonardo Bistolfi” in Casale Monferrato, where more than 170 of his works are on display in five rooms. These include drawings and sketches as well as works and bozzetti in terracotta, plasticine, and gesso and some sculptures in marble and bronze.

Sculpture by Bistolfi is also to be found in the Cimitero monumentale di Staglieno of Genoa, a town where his influence was seen in the work of a number of sculptors, particularly those specializing in funerary art.

Related Research Articles

Giulio Monteverde Italian artist

Giulio Monteverde was an Italian naturalist sculptor and teacher.

Felice Casorati Italian painter

Felice Casorati was an Italian painter, sculptor, and printmaker. The paintings for which he is most noted include figure compositions, portraits and still lifes, which are often distinguished by unusual perspective effects.

Pietro Canonica Italian painter

Pietro Canonica was an Italian sculptor, painter, opera composer, professor of arts and senator for life.

Giovanni Dupré Italian artist

Giovanni Dupré was an Italian sculptor, of distant French stock long settled in Tuscany, who developed a reputation second only to that of his contemporary Lorenzo Bartolini.

Francesco Menzio Italian painter

Francesco Menzio was an Italian painter.

Arrigo Minerbi Italian sculptor

Arrigo Minerbi was an Italian sculptor.

Davide Calandra Italian artist

Davide Calandra was an Italian sculptor and cabinet maker.

Giorgio Ceragioli was an Italian painter and sculptor.

Francesco Messina Italian sculptor

Francesco Messina was an Italian sculptor of the 20th century.

Giacomo Grosso Italian painter

Giacomo Grosso was an Italian painter.

Accademia Albertina art school in Turin, Italy

The Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti is an institution of higher education in Turin, Italy. Its precursor dated to the first half of the 17th century. In 1678 the academy was formally founded as the Academy of Painters, Sculptors and Architects by Marie Jeanne of Savoy. It was re-established under the name Albertina in 1883 by Charles Albert of Sardinia, who had architect Giuseppe Talucchi design and realize a new building on the former site of the convent of the Church of San Francesco da Paola. The academy witnessed the transition of artistic movements during the late 19th to early 20th century, from realism to eclecticism and the Liberty style, in the works of painters Antonio Fontanesi and Giacomo Grosso, and sculptors Vincenzo Vela and Odoardo Tabacchi. Turin became a leading centre of visual arts during the mid-20th century.

Roberto Melli (1885–1958) was an Italian painter and sculptor to the Scuola Romana, and active in Ferrara and Rome.

Alfredo Luxoro Italian painter

Alfredo Luxoro was an Italian painter, mainly of landscapes, genre, and orientalist themes.

Enrico Reycend was an Italian painter, mainly of landscapes and vedute.

Antonio Tortone was an Italian sculptor.

Pasquale Romanelli was an Italian sculptor, apprentice of Lorenzo Bartolini.

Alessandro Nelli was an Italian entrepreneur. Nelli was the founder of the Fonderia Nelli, which was the leading foundry in Rome from 1880 to 1900. Nelli worked for a number of artists, producing their artistic bronzes.

Vittorio Cavalleri Italian painter

Vittorio Cavalleri or Cavalieri was an Italian painter. He mainly painted outdoor genre scenes.


    Further reading