Borrani Odoardo (attribuito a), Visit to the Painter’s Studio – Visit to the Studio
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1,865 - 1,875; oil on braced panel
cm. 20,7 x 27,8
Signed bottom left: “O. Borrani”. On the back of the frame, top centre in ink: “Lucca 1975 [or 1970]”; on the back of the panel, top left, signature in ink: “O. Borrani”
Inventory: AH01563AFC
Provenance: Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio Cariplo, Opere d’arte. Atti d’acquisto ex Cariplo. Fald. 2/3, pratica no. 879 R/831
Exibition: 2007-2008, Novi Ligure, s.n.

The work depicts the interior of the artist’s studio, a subject that was very popular with painters in the second half of the 19th century, and is featured in another work in the Cariplo Collection, Unable to Wait by Telemaco Signorini. Bound by a brotherly friendship, the two painters were among the leading lights of the Piagentina School, a group formed around 1862 to experiment with painting from real life in the countryside just outside Florence. It was precisely at this time that Borrani began to paint domestic interior scenes, though later his atelier would provide the inspiration for works such as, A Visit to My Studio (private collection), exhibited at the Esposizione Nazionale di Belle Arti di Milano in 1872; Waiting for the Painter (private collection) shown at the Promotrice di Firenze in 1877 and at the 1st Esposizione Nazionale di Belle Arti di Napoli in 1877, and In the Artist’s Studio, dating to 1888, formerly in the Mario Galli Collection in Florence and now in a private collection.

Here Borrani uses swift dabs of paint to depict a more modest setting than those in the above works. In all likelihood, it was the studio he set up in one of the houses outside Porta La Croce near Florence, where he moved in 1865 with Carlotta Meini (whom he married three years later) and subsequently left, living at more than ten addresses in the course of a few years. As in the painting exhibited in 1872, the female visitor is seated on a sofa on the edge of the scene. The hairstyles and dress are similar in both paintings, but here the woman is conversing with a young man who is busy smoking. Only a few decorative elements, such as the carpet on the floor and the drape on the small table that resembles the one in A Visit to My Studio, characterise the simple, otherwise unfurnished setting. On the walls we can make out various barely sketched canvases, some depicting architectural views that link this painting to the domestic subjects, including My Kitchen exhibited at the Promotrice di Firenze of 1863, and executed during the period when the artist was working in the Piagentina countryside.

The pictorial handling is characterised by large fields and low-key colours. These are typical of the period between the mid-1860s and mid-1870s when Borrani and other Macchiaioli artists, such as Abbati, Lega, Sernesi and Signorini, used this technique to experiment with intimist themes, which would be rendered more analytically and descriptively in the 1880s.

Sources:Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio Cariplo, Opere d’arte. Atti d’acquisto ex Cariplo. Fald. 2/3, pratica no. 879 R/831


Importanti dipinti dell'800, Franco Semenzato, Milano, 1990, n. 197, s.p., ill.;
Simona Bartolena, Odoardo Borrani, Visita allo studio di pittura, in Tesori d'arte delle banche lombarde, Associazione Bancaria Italiana, Milano, 1995, n. 413, p. 226, ill.;
Sergio Rebora, Odoardo Borrani, Visita allo studio, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 31, pp. 95-96, ill. p. 95;
Nicoletta Colombo – Giuliana Godio, a cura di, L’altra metà della vita. Interni nell’arte da Pellizza a De Chirico (1865-1940), catalogo della mostra, Novi Ligure, Museo dei Campionissimi, 23 novembre 2007 – 13 aprile 2008, s.e., s.l., [2007], p. 97, ill. n. 46

Laura Casone
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