Born in Florence on January 9, 1858, died there on February 16, 1917. He started painting studies at a very young age and had Enrico Pollastrini and then Antonio Ciseri at the Florentine Academy as teachers. After the courses, he attended the studio deprived of Ciseri, acquiring a vast artistic culture and excellent technique with the tenacious and severe application. He was first known for his watercolors, such as The Pope's antechamber, in which he achieved excellence. In 1880, invited by Sedelmayer, a well-known art dealer, he settled in Paris where he began his rapid career. In this period, which goes up to 1896, he completed his major works: Milton's visit to Galileo, exhibited in 1893 at the Salone dei Campi Eisi, awarded the great gold medal and considered his masterpiece; The entrance of the Dolphin; The will; Bibliophiles, and other important canvases, all awarded in Munich and Leipzig. Back in Florence, he lived a retired life, of continuous work. His freshly finished canvases emigrated to Paris, other paintings of lesser importance appeared in some of the annual Florentine exhibitions. They belong to this second period: The Cardinal's exit; Paolo Toscanelli and the ambassadors of Portugal; Evidence of the Mass in the Vatican; The gunsmith's forge; Gerolamo Savonarola and the delegates of Lorenzo de 'Medici; Bernardo Vennini and his son; Friar in the choir, in the collection of comm. Enrico T. Allievi; Billiards players, in that of Mr. Ivo Monti in Milan. In the last period of his activity he left the palette to devote himself to that colossal work which was, and will remain, the illustration of the Decameron, promoted and published by Alinari. There are one hundred panels admirable for their skilful composition, for their impeccable design, true paintings: the artist executed them in six years of undefeated work. Lessi was in love with form. He studied it, cured it, perfected it. A very talented prospect, a profound connoisseur of all the secrets of the technique, his brush knew the most delicate shades and softness. Although he lived in an era of artistic revolutions, he always remained independent, without following the fashion and the various tastes of the public. Her honesty, her reserve, her disinterest in him prevented him from enjoying the popularity he deserved. His brother Giovanni was also a painter of some merit.


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