Alberto Maso Gilli (1840–1891)

Born at Chieri, Turin, Gilli was a history and portrait painter, printmaker, and sculptor. He studied painting at the Accademia Albertina, Turin, under Andrea Gastaldi, and others including Carlos Arienti, Enrico Gamba, and Giovanni Marghinotti. He became Gastaldi's assistant from 1865 to 1873. His drawings became popular early on in his career, and his work on Regnault's Una decapitazione e Tangeri launched his career as an engraver and etcher. He was appointed a superintendent at the municipal school of drawing at Turin, and after the success of his painting, Arnaldo da Brescia, at the Promotrice delle Belle Arti di Torino in 1872, he became a professor of the Accademia Albertina. From 1884 until his death, he was director of La Regia Calcografia in Rome. British art critic, Philip Gilbert Hamerton, wrote the following of Gilli: 'Alberto Maso Gilli is an excessively skilful realist, who represents the comedy of bourgeois existence with undeniable force, both of expression and execution, but it is a kind of talent which, though startling for the vivid reality of its effects, is essentially vulgar in more respects than one. The very brilliance of the trompe Vail, so successfully aimed at, is vulgar in itself. Every imaginable artifice is resorted to in order to obtain a deceptive relief. Figures are set in strong lamplight against black backgrounds till they stand out like models, and they are shaded with a completeness that leaves nothing to the imagination. There can be no question, however, as to the manual and technical power with which the purpose is accomplished ; sometimes, indeed, the technical power is so striking, that a more refined artist might well envy the possession of it.' Gilli died at Calvi dell'Umbria, Terni.









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