Massimo Campigli’s women: memories from Florence and Etruscan echoes

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.

Massimo Campigli, "Testa di donna", 1932 - "Woman's Head"

"Woman's Head", 1932

Massimo Campigli, "Testa di ragazza", 1935 - "Girl's Head"

"Girl's Head", 1935

Massimo Campigli, "Ragazza", 1935 - "Young Woman"

"Young Woman", 1935

Massimo Campigli, "Giuditta Scalini", 1940

"Giuditta Scalini", 1940

Massimo Campigli, "Affresco", 1941 - "Fresco"

"Fresco", 1941

Massimo Campigli, "Ritratto di moglie che solleva il velo", 1941-42 - "Portrait of a Wife Lifting her Veil"

"Portrait of a Wife Lifting her Veil", 1941-42

Massimo Campigli, "Volto di fanciulla", 1944 - "Young Woman's Face"

"Young Woman's Face", 1944

Massimo Campigli, "Ritratto di donna", 1949 - "Woman's Portrait"

"Woman's Portrait", 1949

Massimo Campigli, "Ritratto di donna", 1950 - "Woman's Portrait"

"Woman's Portrait", 1950

Massimo Campigli, volto di donna - woman's face

"Face", undated

Massimo Campigli, "Ritratto di ragazza", 1950 - "Young Woman's Portrait"

"Young Woman's Portrait", 1950

Massimo Campigli, "Ritratto di Irene Brin", 1954 - "Portrait of Irene Brin"

"Portrait of Irene Brin", 1954

Massimo Campigli, "Dama", 1956 - "Lady"

"Lady", 1956

Massimo Campigli, "Ritratto di Olga Capogrossi", 1959-60 - "Portrait of Olga Capogrossi"

"Portrait of Olga Capogrossi", 1959-60

Massimo Campigli, "Figura di donna", s.d. - "Woman's Figure", undated

"Woman's Figure", undated

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