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Mauro Gandolfi

1764 - 1834


Son of Gaetano, born in Bologna in 1764, Mauro quickly revealed his lively and rebellious nature. At only sixteen years old he left his family and went to France, living in Strasbourg and Arras until he decided to join the royal regiment. After five years he returned to Bologna and attended the Clemetine Academy (Accademia Clementina of fine arts), refining the artistic techniques his father had taught him as a child. Winning numerous awards he was later granted professorship of Figures from 1794-1797. In the meantime, he collaborated with his father (the two lateral ones with “History of Saint Domenico”, that was placed next to the altarpiece of Gaetano in San Domenico in Ferrara) and freelanced as a painter, an illustrator, miniaturist and engraver.

Open to the novelties of France, Mauro cultivated a passion for other interests such as music, mineralogy and botany. He was politically active in the first Cispadano Congress organised by Napoleon (1796), he held various public offices in Bologna, and he promoted the first projects for the municipal cemetery located outside of the city walls and set up the “Feast of gratitude" in 1798. As a “republican” painter he was commissioned to paint in the Palazzo Comunale, which still exists even though it was modified after the Restoration, with the Glorification of the Cispadana Republic. In 1801, he returned to France to study in the new techniques of engraving and he became a translator of works of art and as a restorer. After five years in France, Mauro seemed to have returned to Bologna indefinitely but he does decide to travel, again to Milan and then to the United States of America (1816), during these final experiences he chronicled his journey in the form of a diary, that, like his other writings, highlights his most uncommon experiences. The final era of his work was above all as an engraver-translator of famous paintings as, at the time, there were no other means to reproduce and disseminate works of art. Mauro died on 4 January 1834 in Bologna and is buried in the Certosa beside his father.

Translation from italian language by Holly Bean.