Eugenio Zampighi was born in Modena in 1859. Surrounded by artists, his father was, in fact, an ornamental sculptor and his uncle a painter, Zampighi, only 13 years old, in 1872 he was admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts of Modena where he began to attend the courses of Adeodato Malatesta and Antonio Simonazzi. From 1873 to 1878 he was part of the encouragement society for artists and in 1880 he participated in both the Magnanini Prize for painting with the work Wealth and Poverty, and the Poletti Prize. He will win this last prize with the work A Wounded Retiary Gladiator in the Flavian Amphitheater, a canvas that will allow him to win a three-year scholarship in Rome and one year in Florence. Between Rome and Florence, Zampighi will focus his works on themes of the time, attracting strong criticism from the judging commissions, which will then lead him to focus on themes more sought after by the international market, such as cheerful scenes of Italian rural life, much appreciated by foreign collectors. because they are free from any image of criticism and social denunciation. The features of Zampighi's works, although immediate and realistic, were not painted from life, but using the photographs taken of the subjects in question: the elderly, mothers and children, all carefully studied, from the pose to the clothing, to the setting. Zampighi made his shots with the technique of gelatin with silver salts on baryta paper or, at first, with albumin on paper, to invent and gradually create his own paintings, real compositions. Among the most famous paintings From the grandmother, Freshly picked cherries, Children's games, Interior with two women and a baby, The umbrella. All these works have characteristic elements: the same furnishings and the same characters in different works. For example: the pot-bellied yellow vessel with a strangled and elongated neck, the elderly man who hands some cherries to a child in the arms of the young mother, recur in two or more works by Zampighi. Among the works of art by the Modenese artist there are also some prints that he himself used as a photographic book to present himself and his works to art dealers or foreign buyers. So a Zampighi who doubles the use of photography: on the one hand he creates a personal album, on the other he uses specially designed shots to create his paintings. The artistic repertoire of Eugenio Zampighi, an eclectic artist, is enriched with a further album of sketches and drawings, created to study the chiaroscuro effects and luminous contrasts, later useful for the composition of his works. He died in Maranello in 1944.


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