Pietro Annigoni bigraphy, stories - Italian painter

Pietro Annigoni : biography

June 7, 1910 - October 28, 1988

Pietro Annigoni (7 June 1910 – 28 October 1988) was an Italian portrait and fresco painter, who became world famous after painting Queen Elizabeth II in 1956.


Born in Milan in 1910, Annigoni was a painter who was influenced by the Italian Renaissance.

From the end of the 1920s on, he lived mainly in Florence where he studied at the College of the Piarist Fathers.

In 1927, he was admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, where he attended the courses given by Felice Carena in painting, Giuseppe Graziosi in sculpture, and Celestino Celestini in etching. Annigoni enrolled in the nude class run by the Florentine Circolo degli Artisti, while attending the open class in the same subject at the Academy.

Annigoni exhibited his work for the first time in Florence in 1930 with a group of painters. He had his first individual exhibition two years later, in 1932 at the Bellini Gallery in the Palazzo Ferroni.

In 1932, journalist Ugo Ojetti featured Annigoni in the Arts section of the Corriere della Sera. Also in 1932, he won the Trentacoste prize.


Annigoni was married to Anna Giuseppa Maggini in 1937 until her death of illness in July 1969. They had two children, Benedetto (1939) and Maria Ricciarda. In 1976 he married Rosella Segreto, also a favorite model of the artist.


In May 1988, Annigoni had emergency surgery due to a perforated ulcer, and he did not recover fully from the ailment. He was rushed to the hospital in Florence on October 27, 1988, and died of kidney failure on October 28, 1988. He is buried in the Porte Sante (Holy Doors) cemetery at the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte, overlooking his beloved Florence.

World acclaim

His work bore the influence of Italian Renaissance portraiture, and was in contrast to the modernist and post-modernist artistic styles that dominated the middle and late twentieth century. He was known for his romantic portrayal of the young Queen Elizabeth II in 1956, as well as for his portraits of Pope John XXIII, US Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, the Shah and Empress of Iran, Princess Margaret National portrait gallery and several other members of the British royal family.

Pietro Annigoni was chosen by TIME magazine to paint President of the United States John F. Kennedy for the (January 5) 1962 Person of the Year cover. The result was perhaps his worst portrait as Kennedy would not sit still and Annigoni had no time or inclination to satisfy Time magazine. Other TIME magazine covers that featured portraits by Annigoni were the issues of October 5, 1962 (Pope John XXIII), November 1, 1963 (Ludwig Erhard), and April 12, 1968 (Lyndon B. Johnson).

Other subjects around the world that Annigoni painted include HRH Prince Phillip and several other members of the House of Windsor as well as the shoemaker Salvatore Ferragamo, Florentine author Luigi Ugolini, ballet legend Dame Margot Fonteyn, British actress Julie Andrews, Russian ballet star Rudolf Nureyev, American actress and poet Vanna Bonta as a girl, and the Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur.

An outspoken artist who did not refrain from iconoclasm toward his perception of passing or superficial social trends, Annigoni wrote essays challenging modern art that disregarded the basic ability to draw. He alienated critics, who claimed his art was too representational, discounting the unique dramatic signature the artist brought to Renaissance tradition. by Brenda Dionisi; (issue no. 99/2009 / April 9, 2009)

Church frescoes

Annigoni gave much time in his life to painting church frescoes in and around his Florence. Frescoes It was at the Monte Cassino monastery south of Rome, that he worked on his largest fresco work of art, the dome of the monastery in 1980 at the age of 70 and took five years to complete it.


On 14 November 1975 Annigoni was conferred the Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (OMRI)

Living octopus

Living octopus

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