The Artwork of Domenico Baccarini
Born in December of 1882 at Faenza, Italy, Domenico Baccarini studied sculpture at Faenza’s School of Arts and Crafts under Massimo Campello and drawing under the sculptor and medalist Antonio Berti, who introduced him to the renowned ceramic crafts of the city. Since the Middle Ages, Faenza was considered an excellent ceramic center which was known for its high-quality majolica pottery. After graduating and obtaining a study grant from the city of Faenza, Baccarini attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence between 1900 and 1903.
During this period in Florence, Baccarini associated with many artists including symbolist illustrator and print maker Adolfo De Carolis, painter and engraver Giovanni Costetti, and painter and poet Lorenzo Viani. He produced several sculptures in the years 1901 and 1902, which are now housed in the collection of the municipality of Forli’s Aurelio Saffi Library. These include his sculptural works “Bust of a Young Woman”, “Spring”, “Nymphs”, and “Sensations of the Soul”.
Baccarini visited the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts, held in Turin in 1902, and, in the following year, attended the Fifth International Biennial of Art in Venice. Settling in Rome in the autumn of 1903, Baccarini worked as an illustrator for the La Patria newspaper, which later organized an exhibition of his work at its headquarters in summer of 1904. During this time in Rome, Baccarini was in a relationship with the future model for many of his works, Elizabetta Santolini known as Bitta,, who would in 1905 give birth to their daughter Maria Teresa.
In the beginning of 1904, Baccarini achieved admission to the Nude School of the French Academy located in central Rome’s Villa Medici. He often frequented the home of monumental and frieze sculptor Giovanni Prini and met with other artists, such as painters and sculptors Umberto Boccioni and Giacomo Balla, both leading members of Futurist movement, and musician and composer Alberto Gasco, a proponent of musical Modernism. Baccarini exhibited his work in 1904 with success at the Romagna Regional Exhibition of Ravenna.
Returning to Faenza in 1905, Domenico Baccarini began to work in the medium of ceramics. As part of the Art Nouveau and the late symbolism period of Faenza ceramics, he was responsible for some of the most interesting artistic, ceramic and decorative concepts at the turn of the twentieth century. Baccarini played a key role in the renewal of Faenza’s ceramic production, especially that of the Fabbriche Riunite Ceramiche workshop of Achille Calzi and the Manifatture Fratelli Minardi owned by the Minardi brothers, Virginio and Venturino.
While working in ceramic design, Baccarini continued his own drawing and sculptural works, of which three were presented at the Sixth Venice Biennale. He was very engaged in his artwork throughout 1905: exhibiting in Milan’s Fine Art Exhibition for the opening of the Sempione and at the first Exhibition of the Società del Risveglio Cittadino in Faenza. Baccarini also produced illustrations for Rome’s L’Avanti della Domenica magazine and started collaborating with writer and journalist Antonio Beltramelli on illustrations fo the author’s short stories.
After being abandoned by Bitta and suffering economically, Domenico Baccarini returned to Rome where he received a commission from the charity institution, Casa del Pane, for a series of drawings to illustrate their workers in the field. During this second stay in Rome, his already poor physical condition worsened rapidly, which forced his return to his hometown of Faenza. It was there that Domenico Baccarini died on January 31 of 1907, at the age of twenty-four.
For the celebration of the centennial anniversary of the passing of Domenico Baccarini, the Municipal Art Gallery of Faenza held two exhibitions of his paintings and drawings in their collection. On the same occasion, the Museum of Art of Ravenna held an exhibition entitled “Domenico Baccarini: A Meteor of the Early Twentieth Century”, which retraced his life through his work.