Augusto Baracchi was born in Modena in 1878. The different phases of his artistic training are still unclear. It is probable that he was a pupil at the Academy of Salvatore Postiglione and that he also had relations with Giuseppe Graziosi, who must have introduced him to the engraving technique.
In 1895, he made his debut at the Triennial Exhibition in Modena, in which he would participate assiduously for many years. In 1897 he received his first important recognition: with Real-life study he received the silver medal from the Ministry of Education, an award that made him known to critics, interested in his free handling of colour, which made Augusto Baracchi one of the most modern and up-to-date artists in the Modena area at the turn of the century.
His favourite subjects are part of the idyllic and serene narration of the rural world, through a loose realism, characterised by rich touches of colour that like pieces build up the city views or the above-mentioned pastoral paintings where light and shadow dialogue with effects that are anything but predictable.
Success in the field of illustration and graphics
In the meantime, the artist worked in the field of illustration and graphics, which were his true vocation, collaborating with the satirical newspaper ‘Il duca Borso’, where he worked with other local artists such as Gaetano Bellei and Giovanni Cappelli.
Augusto Baracchi’s etchings are characterised by a dry stroke and timeless charm, especially as they are initially dedicated to rural scenes and views. His etchings appeared at major Italian exhibitions, starting with the Florentine Spring Exhibition in 1922, the same year in which he made his debut at the Venice Biennale with Little square in Fiumalbo and Old houses in Fiumalbo, etchings that narrate the rural simplicity of life in a small village in the Emilian Apennines.
The greatness of Italian architecture through etching: between the ancient and the modern
He also and above all worked on the reproduction of Italian monuments through a veritable cycle of prints made from the 1920s onwards, in which the grandeur of buildings such as the Basilica of Assisi rise magnificently against open skies, with very little human presence, as can be seen in the two etchings presented at the 1924 Biennale.
Precise perspective and architecture and historical celebration also come together in the series dedicated to the Vestiges of Imperial Rome, which is part of the general exaltation of ancient monuments expressed in the rhetoric of the regime and which also goes towards celebrating the new urban works commissioned by Mussolini. At the 1930 Biennale, he was commissioned to make a series of prints of the Venetian dams. He presented a total of six, including the Large intake dam in the Piave River and Pavana Dam. The following year, he took part in the Quadriennale di Roma with two etchings, Piazza delle Erbe in Modena and Sacra of san Michele. He returned there in 1935 with two views of the Imperial Forum and in 1939 with Ruins of Tempio di Marte and Milan getting a makeover: Via del Palazzo Reale. The latter print was made following his move to the Lombard capital, which also coincided with a gradual return to oil painting, to which he devoted himself until his death in 1942.