Torello Giovanni Battista Ancillotti was born on 7 November 1843 in Montepulciano from Domenico and Fortunata Fontani. Apprentice in the workshop of his cabinetmaker father, he attended the courses of Pollastrini at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, where he had as study companions Cannicci, Cecconi, Cecioni and above all Vinea, with whom he became a friend. He takes part as a volunteer in the second (1859) and the Third War of Independence (1866); in the meantime he was awarded a silver medal for the figure competition of the Academy of Fine Arts of Pisa (1863), where he had moved with his family. Having definitively discharged from the army, in 1870 he married Demetra Corgialegno in Naples and settled permanently in Florence; three children are born to him: Luisa, who will die at the age of nine, Demetrio and Beatrice. After being employed at the National Library of Florence in the department of prints and heraldry, he distinguished himself in the field of figurative arts under the influence of the Macchiaioli and Fattori, the latter being the teacher of his youngest daughter, Beatrice who attended at the Caffè Michelangelo. . In 1877, leaving his family in Florence, he moved to France, to Rouen. Here he falls in love with the Countess of Barr and begins an intense artistic activity as a genre painter, watercolorist and sculptor. Already in 1879 he exhibited at the Salon de Paris, where he was present until 1892 (excluding the years 1880, 1887 and 1890); in 1883 he participated in the Universal Exposition of Amsterdam, obtaining the gold medal with the sculpture Chef de banda. In 1886 he settled in Paris with his family. It is required by high society; he becomes friends with Guy de Maupassant and Medardo Rosso, whom he helps and encourages. He was appointed member of the jury for Italy (Fine Arts Section) at the Universal Exposition of 1889, in which he too participated with oils, watercolors and sculptures, including the very delicate Rêverie (Rougeurs de soir), donated by the heirs to Gallery of Modern Art of Florence. Until 1893 he lived in Paris, exhibiting for the last time a portrait at the Galèrie Georges Petit. Nostalgia for his homeland, the need to follow his children's studies and the promise of the chair of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts, led him to return to Florence. Here he participates in the Annual Exhibitions of the Society of Fine Arts and, in 1896-1897, in the "Festival of Art and Flowers", presenting La Manica (Marina) which De Fonseca (1897) highlights among the notable works of the exhibition. A few years later, Ancillotti fell seriously ill and died in Florence on June 13, 1899. Among the watercolors, drawings and historical paintings of the genre that affirmed him beyond the Alps, we remember: Chez la Brocanteuse, presented at the Lyon Exposition of 1884 and now preserved at the Societé des Amis des Arts in Lyon; Recherche sous l''Artillerie, presented at the Tourcoing Exhibition in 1887 and depicting a musketeer reading, and La Voisine, also works in seventeenth-century costume. Among the landscape paintings and seascapes, in which he blends Tuscan tradition with French inflections with elegant and worldly tones a la De Nittis, some of his glimpses of Rouen, Place de Carrousel, exhibited at the Universal in Paris in 1889, and Plage à Réville. He also practices sculpture with success: particularly successful works are Un pécheur à la ligne, presented at the Salon in 1881, Chef de banda, presented at the Universal Exhibition in Amsterdam in 1883, and Love blessant la Force, exhibited at the Parisian Salon of 1889. Over six hundred works by Torello and his daughter Beatrice Ancillotti are now kept in the Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Firenze in Palazzo Pitti, following the donation made in 1979 by Maria Goretti, daughter of Beatrice (see M. Goretti, Homage to Torello Ancillotti , Bologna, 1989).


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