Italian artist Carlo Ferrari had an illustrious and diverse career both as a painter, restorer, engraver and connoisseur of art. He is known predominantly, however, for his landscape and genre paintings, and it was these that would earn him his success.
Ferrari studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in his birthplace, Verona. His relationship with the Academy was rather rocky as he was expelled from the school in 1836. However, it was his exhibition pieces that caught the eye of the Mayor and kickstarted his career. So much so, he was eventually employed by the Academy as a professor and became an honorary member later in life.
Whilst Ferrari travelled throughout Italy, particularly to Rome, in his lifetime, it was to Verona he pledged his allegiance, and it is the central study of his works.
Ferrari drew on the Flemish tradition in landscape painting which was extremely popular at the time amongst his main clientele, the growing middle class and Austrian soldiers within Verona. Verona was predominantly under Austrian rule during Ferrari’s life and officers such as Marshall Joseph Radetzky commissioned paintings from him.
He was praised for his sweeping, grand views of Verona and other Italian cities with intricate detail in the style known as ‘veduta.’ Compared favourably to Canella and master of veduta Paul Bril (1554-1626), Ferrari’s works show a clear understanding of composition and depth.
Furthermore, Ferrari possessed great skill in weaving narrative scenes of everyday life into his works. People haggle at the market or painters exhibit their works. Such was Ferrari’s success that in 1851 Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria visited his workshop. His work was also widely reproduced for the English market.
Ferrari had a smaller, less productive, career as an engraver. He reproduced for print predominantly Renaissance works. Perhaps from these he gained inspiration to deviate in his later years to experiment with sacred subjects. Either way, Ferrari’s diverse career gives the impression of a man with a great perspective of the history and practice of art who therefore utilised this to execute his own paintings and practices to a high level. These life lessons he passed on to his daughters and the students of the Academy.
However, he has also passed on, to this day, a strong impression of Veronese artistic practices in the 19th-century.
Born in Verona.
Began studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Verona.
Expelled from the Academy.
Work which formed part of an exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts in Verona praised by the mayor of Verona, Orti Manara.
Married Giuditta Viola.
Readmitted to the Academy on artistic merit.
Appointed academic professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Verona.
Emperor Franz Joseph visits his workshop.
Appointed honorary member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Verona.
Died in Verona.