Pietro Annigoni | Original prints, lithographs, etchings and illustrated books
Pietro Annigoni (Milan, 7 June 1910 - Florence, 28 October 1988) was an Italian painter, nicknamed "the painter of the queens" by the press of his time.
He attended the "Giuseppe Parini" gymnasium in Milan and spent many hours at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana to try to learn the technique of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci.
In 1925 the Annigoni moved to Florence for work reasons of Pietro's father, an engineer: he graduated from the Piarist Institute and his parents gave him permission to attend the Academy of Fine Arts with professors Carena and Graziosi , perfecting his studies, then, with long journeys, even abroad.
His first personal exhibition was set up in 1932, at Palazzo Perroni. From the beginning it is characterized by a style true to reality.
During the years of the Second World War, the Annigoni family with Pietro was welcomed in the house of Alido Michelozzi in Serravalle Pistoiese.
In 1947 with Gregorio Sciltian and the brothers Xavier and Antonio Bueno, he is among the signatories of the manifesto of modern painters of reality. Using with great mastery the use of ancient painting techniques (famous his fat tempera) used in the Renaissance, he built his artistic path in sharp contrast with the pictorial styles of Modernism and Postmodernism in vogue in the years of his activity. Remain faithful to Realism until death.
Such a predilection for the truth, quickly puts him in the spotlight in the field of portraiture, where clearly the client wants to be able to recognize himself. The fame grows in the noble circles of Italy. In 1949 he went to the United Kingdom, where he made some portraits of the British royals and other celebrities, until, in 1955, he received the coveted commission to portray Queen Elizabeth II. (National Portrait Gallery, London). Accept, after having agreed, for execution, a series of studio poses. He will receive great notoriety. The portrait will also appear on the stamps and on a Mauritian banknote. Equally relevant, but perhaps less well known, those performed for Pope John XXIII, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Philip of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret, Queen Mother, Alcide De Gasperi, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi with Empress Farah (on the occasion of the coronation took place in 1967), Margaret II of Denmark and many others.
Despite being remembered as "The painter of the queens", he had great predilection in portraying "less well-off and famous people", in which he was able to faithfully describe both his external appearance and his interior.
From 1966 to 1988, his activity is characterized by a succession of prestigious exhibitions, including many at the Royal Academy in London, while in Italy, for the remarkable success achieved, those in Milan are remembered (Galleria Cortina, 1968, and Galleria Levi , 1971). Between one exhibition and another, he never fails to dedicate himself to one of his great passions: the art of fresco.
His are the frescoes:
in the rebuilt basilica of the Abbey of Montecassino: on the inner facade the Glory of St. Benedict, 35 m2, Abraham, Moses;
in the dome the death of St. Scolastica, the death of St. Benedict, the vision of St. Benedict is frescoed;
in the spandrels of the dome, he depicted the allegories of monastic vows: chastity holding the lamp; stability with the anchor and the column; the poverty that leans on the cross and lets money fall; obedience (whose original sketch is in the museum) in an attitude of listening;
in Florence in the convent of San Marco (Descent from the Cross - Death of Abel);
in Piazza del Duomo in Florence on the facade of the Palazzo della Misericordia, right in front of Giotto's bell tower (La Carità - representation of a confrere carrying a sick person with the traditional zana);
in the chapel of the blessings of the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua;
in the Propositura of San Michele Arcangelo of Ponte Buggianese with the help of the pupil Lucia Mongardi;
in the Cathedral of Mirandola in 1983 he built a Crucifixion in a chapel in the left aisle, in memory of his father Ricciardo born in Mirandola in 1870 and died in Florence in 1944;
and in many other places.
In the church of San Lorenzo in Florence you can admire an altarpiece depicting St. Joseph the worker with the Child. On the other hand, the abbot Desiderius, who receives the rule from Saint Benedict, has another table representing the abbey of Montecassino, where the remains of Pope Victor III himself are kept .
In Dovadola, in the Forlì Apennines, there is a portrait of Benedetta Bianchi Porro in the museum dedicated to her.
In Frisa, in the province of Chieti, near the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Popolo, on the main altar stands his portrait of the Virgin with a child he donated.
One of his most important works is the pictorial cycle of the parish church of San Michele Arcangelo in Ponte Buggianese. He worked there from 1967 until his death, with the help of various students. In 2008 the "Pietro Annigoni Museum" was opened at Villa Bardini in Florence.
The painter died, at the age of 78, on 28 October 1988 and is buried in the cemetery of the Porte Sante in San Miniato al Monte.