On the January 20th 1850 died in Florence the tuscan sculptor Lorenzo Bartolini, one of the Napoleon’s favorite artist and one of the most important exponent of the italian Realism Art.

First Years- When he was seven, he stood up and hit a teacher with a lead inkwell. This story tells us about his personality: a student who didn’t follow school rules and a polemic artist against italian sculpture. He developed his talent and his passion for art outside from the school. He learned the sculpture tecnhiques in handcrafts shops where he worked as boy. When he was 22, he enlisted in French Army to escape from the humble artisan destiny reserved to him in Italy. After the battle of Trebbia (June 18th 1799), he found a job in Paris in the David Art Studio. Here he met the painter Ingres and with him borned a great friendship.

 

The Approval- In 1802 Lorenzo Bartolini received the first official approval during the Prix de Rome with a relief of Cleobi and Bitene. This approval get him many commissions around France, among which stands out the big bust of Napoleon (1805), shown in Louvre Museum in Paris. He became a protege of the french emperor and, in 1807, Bartolini was nominated principal of the Sculpture Academy in Carrara, one of the most important academy in Italy for the proximity to marble caves. During these years he realized many sculptures of Napoleon’s relatives or important french personalities.

His New Art- In 1814, after the downfall of Napoleon, Bartolini returned in Florence. In this city, however, he wasn’t appreciated for his political ideas and for his polemic character. Indeed, commissions came from foreigners and not from florentines. During these years began to try new art techniques, more realistic and less bound to the classic style. When he became sculpture teacher in Florence Art Academy, he wanted his students reproducing the reality. So, he brought in classroom an hunchback and asked to students to reproduce him in the most real manner and not look for beauty at all costs like in the Classic Italian Art.

An Eternal Sculptor- Ironically, Lorenzo Bartolini isn’t remembered for his “true art” but for his sculptures made in Classic manner. His artworks are scattered in France and Italy, but the major collection is shown in Academy Gallery in Florence. The sculptor has realized also the Niccolò Machiavelli’s statue in the Piazzale degli Uffizi.