According to art critic Tommaso Paloscia, “In his paintings,” Massimo Campigli (1895-1971) “liked to speak of beautiful, upright, unreachable women.”
Born Max Ihlenfeldt, at a very young age Campigli moved with his mother from his hometown Berlin to Florence. A self-taught artist, he gained his education by spending time with Milanese futurists and Parisian painters. In 1927, during an impromptu visit to the National Etruscan Museum in Rome’s Villa Giulia, he definitely fell in love with ancient art.
In describing his female portraits, Paloscia adds “They were not the women he met in the boulevards, or who frequented the cafes in Paris. He had seen the women he painted elsewhere, in Tuscany, in Florence, certainly in museums. It was a constant, set theme. The woman in his paintings is always the one Campigli, as a child, had formed in his imagination from the images he saw in museums and, in particular, in Etruscan art” (T. Paloscia, “Accadde in Toscana: L’arte visiva dal 1915 al 1940”, Giunti, Florence 1997).
Here is a gallery of the women he portrayed.