Achille Boschi was born in Villa San Cataldo in Modena in 1852. The son of farmers, he soon revealed good drawing skills. He was therefore sent to attend the Academy of Fine Arts in Modena towards the end of the 1960s and attended Adeodato Malatesta’s painting courses there. Impressed by Boschi’s abilities, he urged the municipal institutions to allow the young man to continue his studies with a public subsidy.
The first historical and sacred subjects
In 1876, he participated in the Poletti Prize, winning second prize, while the first prize went to Gaetano Bellei. At the same time, he began to take part in the Triennial exhibitions in Modena, where he was an immediate success with critics and the public. In these early years, Achille Boschi’s painting ranged from genre themes to sacred and historical subjects, among which Agrippina e Claudio stands out. In 1881, he took part in the Milan National Exhibition with the historically reconstructed subject Alfieri during a trip in Spain, accompanied by the genre painting Maternal Joy.
Between Orientalism and genre painting: loose drawing and brilliant colouring
Also in the 1980s, he participated with other artists from Emilia in the engraving reproduction for Venturi’s Regia Galleria Estense. This was also the period in which he began to develop a passion for Orientalist painting and with Harem interior he took part in the London Exhibition of 1881. His genre and history works, with their loose drawing and luminous, free colouring that seems to have been partly updated to the chromatic sensibility of Francesco Paolo Michetti, differ from the sacred subjects that Boschi was asked to paint from the 1890s onwards and which followed a more traditional line.
Among the works of his maturity, which are close to the loose and brilliant taste of Michetti’s realism, are Turkey keeper (1890) and Joyful stories (1894), presented in Ferrara and bought by the collector Lionello Cavalieri, a lover of Muzzioli’s work, of which Boschi made several copies for travelling exhibitions in his memory after his death.
In 1898, he took part in the National Exhibition in Turin with Happy songs and Idillio rusticano. At the beginning of the 20th century, in his full maturity, Achille Boschi returned to his beloved mythological and historical themes, even entering into neo-Pompeian reconstructions. A skilful portraitist, he continued to paint at least until the 1910s, always distinguished by his characteristic rapid and synthetic strokes. He died in Modena in 1930.