Vittorio Maria Bigari (1692-1776)

Biography

Vittorio Bigari was an Italian painter and stuccoist of the late-Baroque. He was active in his native Bologna, where he was a pupil of Antonio Dardani. He was largely self-taught yet gifted with exceptional talent. Zanotti stated that he had 'such praiseworthy qualities not the fruit of long toil but of gifts with which the painter was endowed' and therefore he was able to establish a position among the most highly reputed artists in Bologna of his time. Indeed, he was chosen four times (1734; 1748; 1767; 1773) to be the director of the prestigious Accademia Clementina of Bologna.

He began his career as a stuccoist. However, impressed by the art of the quadraturista Marcantonio Chiarini (1652-1730), whose large perspective paintings he saw while working at the Palazzo Almandini, he himself began to specialise in the study of perspective. He studied Ferdinando Galli Bibiena's L'architettura civile (Parma, 1711) and, profiting also from his experience as an assistant to a scenery designer, Carl Antonio Buffagnotti (1660-after 1715), soon became expert in this art and began to assist the established quadratura specialist Stefano Orlandi (b. 1681). However, he soon also developed his talents as a figure painter, becoming a stylist of 'unsurpassed elegance' (Zanotti) whose late Baroque idiom (Barocchetto) was closer than that of any of his contemporaries to the style of the Rococo.

He painted frescoes in the Basilica of San Domenico in Bologna, as well as the cupola of the church of the Madonna della Guardia, and the gallery of the Ranuzzi Palace in Bologna. He also painted for the Madonna del Soccorso. The Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna includes two paintings by him: Convito di Baldassarre and Salomone incensa gli idoli.

Bigari died in Bologna in 1776.