Domenico Baccarini was born in Faenza in 1882. He trained at the local School of Arts and Crafts, where he returned on several occasions, graduating in 1900. At a very young age, he devoted himself to drawing and engraving, developing a highly personal graphic style, imbued with a naturalistic and symbolist character at the same time.
In 1901, after receiving a scholarship, he moved to Florence to attend the Scuola Libera del Nudo at the Accademia, a fundamental experience for the artist, especially because it gave him the opportunity to meet artists of the Tuscan avant-garde, including Lorenzo Viani and Giovanni Costetti. At times, he was forced to return to Faenza due to an attack of pleurisy, which would unfortunately condition his brief life and artistic career.
Domenico Baccarini’s Florentine period is marked by an assiduous and repeated practice of self-portraiture, intended almost as a means to achieve knowledge of a particularly tormented personality. Paolo Mussini described his self-portraits as ‘glowing with burning fever’. In 1903, he left Florence to move with his model and companion Bitta to Rome, a city that gave him the opportunity to frequent artists such as Giovanni Prini and Gino Severini.
Drawing and sculpture: a personal and tormented expressiveness
During this period, his graphic work began to be accompanied by sculpture. The first bas-reliefs appeared with nudes and female figures with a delicate plastic balance. Returning to Faenza between 1903 and 1905, he worked for the Minardi brothers’ Maiolica Factory, excelling also in ceramic work. In the meantime, in 1904 he took part in the Exhibition of the Amateurs and Connoisseurs of Fine Arts in Rome, where he exhibited the sculpture Three Sisters and the two paintings Romagna Boy and Ave Maria.
These were the years in which Domenico Baccarini contributed his illustrations to the weekly magazine “L’Avanti della domenica”. His maturation in the Symbolist sense can be seen in the large triptych Human Passions, painted around 1905 and kept at the Faenza Art Gallery. In the same year he took part in the Venice Biennale with three drawings, An Old Woman, Young girl and The Bath. In 1906, encouraged and invited by Vittorio Pica, who appreciated him very much, he exhibited other drawings at the Milan Exhibition for the Sempione Tunnel: My Mother, My Cousin and In My Mother’s Shop.
In his later years he illustrated some of Beltramelli’s novels and moved to Rome to work for an antique dealer who commissioned him to produce a series of postcards entitled The Work of the Fields for the Casa del Pane. He contracted a serious form of tuberculosis and died in Faenza in 1907, aged just 25.