Egisto Sarri

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Biography of Egisto Sarri ( 1837-1901 )

Egisto Sarri was born in 1837 in Figline del Arno, Italy. He died in Firenze in 1901.
From 1850, he was studying in the Fine Arts Academy in Firenze with Giuseppe Bezzuoli and Enrico Pollestrini. In 1858 he went to work in the Studio of Antonio Ciseri. He was among his last students, and, according to the art critics, among his best.

He was awarded many prizes, and his talent was soon recognized. His works were highly rated and, in 1900, his painting « The Apotheosis of Madonna » was exhibited at the Alinari competition.
Living and working in Firenze, he used to join his artists friends at the Caffe Michelangelo, taking part in their lively dicussions. Nevertheless, he was never influenced by the « Macchiaoli », an artistic mouvement inspired by the french Impressionism which claimed an anti-academic painting. He always remained faithful to his master Antonio Ciseri ‘s academic style, as shown through his numerous wonderful portraits. Among those, « Rossini » 1866, « Victor Emmanuel II de Savoie » (1870), his « Selfportrait » (1899-1901) today in the Uffizi Galleries, and a beautiful « Portrait of Verdi » (1901).
In April 1863, after visiting the Fine Arts Academy in Firenze, King Victor Emmanuel II decided to commission him an important painting of history , « Corradino di Svevia ». In 1903, Victor Emmanuel III, his son, offered the painting to the Uffizi Museum.
Egisto Sarri also painted religious scenes, « La Madone au rosaire »(1889), « l’Immaculée Conception »(1862), and allegories , « Art »( 1876), « Musica » (1877).

But it was his series of paintings called « Pompeianas » scenes , done between 1875 and 1887 which were really to bring him fame. Today, they are still the most sought after by collectors. They are intimate scenes of family life, located in the classical architecture of Roman or Pompeian patrician houses. Like in the two paintings that we present here, they always depict a young devoted mother, showing love and attention to her small children.The composition is carefully studied. The neoclassical architecture, the deep blue of the mother’s dress, the intense ‘pompei’ red on the walls, all these elements remind us of some classical works by the french artists Gerome, Couture or Boulanger.

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