Born on December 19, 1832 in Castelle, a hamlet of San Lazzaro di Savena, in the province of Bologna, on the estate of the Counts Malvasia of which his father Giuseppe was the factor, and died in Bologna on January 23, 1916. Self-taught, in 1861 he took part in the First Exhibition Italian in Florence with two paintings still linked to romantic motifs, Remnants of an ancient castle and Sunset scene in the pine forest of Ravenna. His attention to the landscape, captured from life, in October 1862 got him the attention of Telemaco Signorini who, in the review of the Promoter of Florence which appeared in "Nuova Europa" (where Bertelli exhibited Casolare rustic in time autumn taken in the surroundings of Bologna and View of the Battiferro above the Navile canal near Bologna at the end of winter), included Bertelli himself among the "progressives" of the time (together, among others, in Pasini, Cabianca , Fattori, Abbati, De Tivoli, Lega and Sernesi). In 1867 he reached Paris on the occasion of the Universal Exposition where he was able to study the works of painters of the school of Barbizon, Courbet, Rousseau, Daubigny, Troyon, Corot and Millet; to the latter, perhaps due to the common peasant origin, he looks in particular, to the point of making a copy of one of his works. On his return home he tries to put the realist lesson of the French landscape painters to good use, reinforcing it with reminiscences of Lombard painting, the ways of which, according to some, he would have assimilated in a stay in Milan. Later he settled in Bologna with his large family (he had married Matilde Benetti in 1857); but his economic situation becomes more and more disastrous also due to debts incurred to put an ancient brick kiln back into operation. In 1870 he obtained a silver medal at the National Exhibition of Fine Arts in Parma, where he exhibits Place Ameno, and, around this date, there are several landscapes, including Muro crenellated (Florence, Crespi collection) and Il crepaccio. In 1880 he was present at the Turin National Exposition with a wooded landscape and in 1883 Two Friars was awarded a gold medal at the Sacred Art Exhibition in Rome. Among his landscape paintings are: Stagno in the morning (around 1880; Bologna, Minelli collection), Pineta in the morning and Pineta at sunset (around 1890), Luna sul lago (around 1895; Bologna, Minelli collection), Stradina all ' alba (circa 1900), Il Savena in S. Ruffilo (circa 1885, Bologna, Roda collection), Valle del Savena (Florence, Crespi collection), mainly inspired by the Savena region. Later he will move to the Emilian Apennines, then to the pine forest of Classe, near Ravenna, then to Venice, where he will stay around 1890, painting, among other things, La Salute church (Bologna, Minelli collection) and Piazzetta di S. Marco (formerly owned by Beliossi, stolen by the Nazis), and finally, around 1895, on Lake Como, where he painted numerous views. Later he will draw inspiration from the rock quarries: Cave di Monte Donato; The quarry and the millstone; Explosion in the quarry (Bologna, Pedrazzi property), datable to around 1900. His work is re-evaluated after his death, starting with the first retrospective organized in Bologna in 1920; this is followed, in the same city, by the celebratory exhibition of 1946, curated by the Francesco Francia gallery; in Milan, the following year, at the Galleria dell'Esame; in October 1967, again in Bologna, at the Galleria del Caminetto, together with works by his son Flavio; finally, between December 2011 and January 2012, the large anthological exhibition, which presented about seventy works by the artist, set up in the rooms of the Palazzo d’Accursio in Bologna.


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