(Rovigo, 17th century - Rovigo, 18th century)

  • Author: Elisabetta Marchioni (Rovigo, 17th century - Rovigo, 18th century)  

  • Technique: oil on canvas 74 x 98,5 cm expertise of Prof. Gianluca Bocchi

Elisabetta Marchioni, of Rodiginian origin, was a Baroque painter active in the Polesine capital between the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century, specializing in still lifes of flowers and fruit.

There is no documentation on the place and date of birth and death, because her maiden name is unknown and Marchioni is that of her husband. It is believed that Elisabetta was the wife of the goldsmith Sante Marchioni, operating in the square of Rovigo, based on the testimony of a certain Francesco Bartoli from Bologna (1745-1806) - the first to speak of her in 1793 -, an actor and playwright, art lover, who had opened a bookshop in Rovigo. Bartoli testifies that "almost all the houses in Rovigo owned four, six, eight (his paintings)".

According to others, it would instead be the Rovigo nun Elisabetta Marchiori, unifying the two identities, the painter and the nun. Elizabeth, widowed, would she become a nun? On the other hand, there are also doubts about the surname Marchiori or Marchioni, of little Polesan attribution. Perhaps the goldsmith husband came from Tuscany, where the goldsmith's art boasts an ancient tradition. Filippo Pedrocco, author of an essay in the catalog dedicated to Andrea Brustolon (Skira, 2009), writes “Elisabetta Marchioni (Rovigo 1650-1700 circa)”. E. Martini considers it active even in the early 700th century.

The painter, much appreciated already in life and still listed internationally today, anticipated with her style the Venetian floral patterns referable to the sphere of Francesco Guardi, characterized by vases and receptacles of quick and almost impressionistic modeling, with a base dark reddish, to bring out dense bouquets of imaginative flowers.

Often confused with Margherita Caffi, or some other painter of similar culture, Elisabetta Marchioni's artistic production is actually characterized by some peculiar elements: the placement of the containers on two different levels to create polychrome and exuberant floral cascades in the proto-rococo style; compositions consisting of a vast assortment of flowers rendered with freedom and imagination rather than copied from reality; the inevitable "cascatelle di verde" and "the pulping of the petals in the roses".

Of its vast production, with infinite variations on the theme, it has been lost for the most part, while others have long been of uncertain attribution. However, very little remains in his hometown. A separate case is the floral antependium that Elizabeth herself gave to the Capuchin Church of Rovigo, now preserved in the Pinacoteca dell'Accademia dei Concordi.

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