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Boldini. Ritratto di Signora
Capolavori da due musei
GAM Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Milano
March 16 - June 17, 2018

The small and prized group of works by Giovanni Boldini (Ferrara 1842 – Paris 1931) belonging to GAM collections is the starting point for an exhibition made possible by the collaboration with the Museo Boldini – Gallerie d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Ferrara, which has loaned a group of 11 works to be shown alongside GAM paintings in order to present in an essential but truly exemplary manner the genre of which he was most fond: the female society portrait.
Although, as Elisabeth de Gramont would recall many years later in her Mémoires, ‘ce peintre de la femme’
had excelled as a male portrait painter, creating some of the most powerful and intense images of men of the time, from Verdi to James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Colette’s husband, Henry Gauthier-Villars, it was his supreme interpretation of femininity, of that mythical being swathed in a cloak of scintillating elegance, that became the paradigm of an age. From the 1890s onwards, in fact, his studio in Paris saw an endless procession of women who wanted to look slimmer, taller, younger and more alluring than they were in reality, and whose husbands were willing to fork out extravagant sums of money to have them immortalized in large pictures that, in addition to the features of the beautiful ladies, captured the glittering atmosphere of the ville lumière and its elegant hedonism.
The artist’s tried-and tested formula was the product of extensive experience, but above all of a deep knowledge of painting that made him the perfect exponent, along with Sargent and other celebrated colleagues, of the so-called juste milieu international: from Ingres to the Dutch, Flemish and Spanish painting of the 17th century, passing through Manet and Degas; from the great English portraiture of Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough to the Italian masters, including Gian Lorenzo Bernini and his ‘living marbles’. Over the course of the last decade of the 19th century Boldini refined his style, developing a new kind of portrait that spoke a language at once classical and modern, relying on elongated forms, fluid brushstrokes, dynamic compositions and informal poses and thus reflecting the change under way in fin-de-siècle society. In doing so he celebrated not just the nobility, but also the rise of the nouveau riche, through a painting that, mixing the innovations of the avant-garde with the traditional values of 17th and 18th-century portraiture, satisfied their ambitions and contributed to the establishment of their social status.

Galleria D'Arte Moderna di Milano
via Palestro 16 - 20121 Milano


Tuesday to Sunday  9.00 - 17.30
(final admission 30 minutes before closing)
Closed on Moday

• ordinary ticket   € 5,00
• discount ticket  € 3,00
Free admission every day one hour before closing and every Tuesday from 14:00.

All around the exhibition


Sala da ballo – free acess

Thursday April 5 – 18:00
Fernando Mazzocca, presentazione della mostra
Stati d’animo. Arte e psiche tra Previati e Boccioni
Tuesday May 8 – 18:00
Barbara Guidi, Boldini ritrattista
Tuesday May 15 – 18:00
Leo Lecci, Boldini, un artista alla Biennale di Venezia
Tuesday May 22 – 18:00
Sergio Rebora, Boldini e la costruzione dell’immagine della donna moderna in pittura

Cultural mediation
On the occasion of this exhibition GAM offers for the first time a cultural mediation service in partnership with
Università degli Studi di Milano.
Young art historians will be at the visitors disposal to explain the exhibition contents.
Cultural mediators will be available every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 to 17.30.