Augusto Bompiani was born in Rome in 1852. He was introduced to painting by his father Roberto, and then completed his training at the Accademia di San Luca. In his earliest phase there was a strong link with the typical themes of his father’s production, which were therefore directed towards a genre narrative of a neo-Pompeian matrix. At the National Exhibition in Milan in 1881, in fact, he sent A street in Rome, Saffo and Citarista – half figure, paintings with a brilliant colour scheme and a marked ease of execution.
A painting that pleased the market: from Neo-Pompeian paintings to genre scenes in the Roman countryside
This type of production ensured Augusto Bompiani immediate market success, which increased further when he switched from Pompeian themes to genre painting that focused on the vivid and popular story of the small towns that adorned the Roman countryside. Ciociaria and Sabina became the painter’s favourite places, which he reproduced with naturalness of execution and a witty eye in his numerous watercolours and oil paintings.
Bompiani’s exhibition activities in Rome included taking part in the exhibitions of the Società degli Amatori e Cultori di Belle Arti, of which he was also a councillor for several years. He then joined the Association of Watercolourists, but continued to exhibit with some regularity at national exhibitions. In 1883, he sent The Arrival and a Head of a Ciociara to Florence, while at the National Exhibition in Rome the same year he presented Intimate and two Ceramic flat with a view of the Port of Anzio. The following year he was present at the National Exhibition in Turin with Head of a child, Village study and Fulvia.
Small portraits, popular scenes of the Roman countryside and genre compositions with brilliant colours and impeccable technique studded Augusto Bompiani’s mature production, which he continued to exhibit until the late 20th century. A lively spirit and pleasant anecdotal intent are to be found in works such as Sweet thoughts and Friar painter, presented at the Verona Art Exhibition of 1900.
Some of the most incisive and representative paintings of the Roman artist’s poetics appeared at the National Exhibition in Rimini in 1909: Orphan, Poaching, Subiaco Mountains, Bacchante and the diptych Anticolan landscape. A Road in Anticoli Corrado, Farrier, Appennino and Adelina date from the 1910s. In 1930, the year of his death, he was remembered at the Rome Trade Union Exhibition with a number of views, including From the Pincio and Terrace.