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Gaetano Chierici, Italian 1838 – 1920
Gaetano Chierici was one of the leading artists of the 19th century Italian school, unsurpassed in depicting scenes of domestic antics, humorous and innocent, with children for actors. His portrayal of the endearing naughtiness and antics of children was the foundation of his reputation.
He was born and raised in the small, peaceful city of Reggio, Italy. Of his artistic education it is known that he studied at the Academies of Reggio and Bologna. In 1858 he moved to Florence where he developed his talents at painting the nude. Chierici returned to his native city where he worked until his death although he exhibited in Boston and Washington, at the Royal Academy in London between 1877 and 1881, and throughout Italy.
Appreciating his gift of freshness to old themes, the Magazine of Art wrote in 1881: “We owe much to a painter who gives us homely subjects treated with sincerity and directness. He has made poor Italian interiors his own, and paints the peasant and his children with an intimate sympathy and cordiality… Chierici has lived among his subjects, and paints people and things with a sincere and intense reality.”
To a friend the artist wrote of his work: “In my painting there is no inspiration of hidden meaning; there are no melancholy figures, rigid and vague in symbolism to delight the minds of the philosophers, but there is a profound affection for family, that’s what inspires me. That’s why I was, and remain, a ‘picture seller,’ which is what they called me many years ago and which was reinforced to my by my children with the caresses and looks constantly radiating the smiles of their infancy; just as did my life’s companion with the joyful surroundings that she created in my house.”
Biography excerpted from the unpublished catalog by Edward P. Bentley for the Haussner Restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, titled: Haussner’s, The Children.