Cecchi, Adriano (1850-1936)

Cecchi, Adriano (1850-1936)

Adriano Cecchi was an Italian artist with an affinity for coquettish, rococo portraits and historical scenes of the 18th-century. He also produced an array of paintings depicting figures in the traditional folk dress of Italy. Both styles of painting were popular in the 19th-century and Cecchi was able to execute a huge array during his career.

In each of his paintings, there is keen eye for detail and a highly saturated use of colour. In his outdoor scenes of romantic rose gardens, female figures slip serenely through the flowerbeds in their silk dresses and lace frilled bonnets. Women in folk dress highlighted with strong reds, blacks, and blues make a stark contrast to the white walls they lounge against.

His interiors play with dark shadows with a nod towards the slightly licentious and morally dubious themes of these scenes. A man enjoys a glass of wine, rosy cheeks and large tankard suggesting overindulgence. A cavalier meets a serving girl in secret, the hand on her waist perhaps suggesting more than courtship.

Although little is to be found about the details of his life, it is known that his father was a woodcarver. Examples of Cecchi’s own wood carvings remain and could perhaps suggest tutelage by his father and an intention to follow in his footsteps. It seems, however, that painting was the vocation for Cecchi and he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. He would exhibit multiple times in the city and eventually became a teacher at the Academy.

There is also evidence to suggest that Cecchi visited England for a while and might have potentially been in Munich and exhibited there.

Interestingly, one example of Cecchi’s work stands out from the rest. He depicts a woman from North Africa in a more sombre, powerful stance in one portrait. Italy was, during the 19th-century, expanding its African empire. It is, therefore, a much more modern subject for Cecchi and suggests a prominent contemporary interest in these Italian campaigns, so much so it captured the interest of a man devoted to capturing the past.

1850

Born in Prato.

1879

Travelled to England, stayed for 22 months.

1881

Worked as a teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence.

1936

Died.

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