Edoardo Togni was born in Brescia in 1884. He soon moved with his mother to Milan, where they were guests of the Della Porta family, an aristocratic family who encouraged him to cultivate his artistic talent, directing him to Gaetano Previati’s studio.
In the early years of the 20th century, he occasionally attended the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, where he developed a naturalism that was particularly sensitive to variations in light. His favourite subjects were the mountains of Lombardy, to which Edoardo Togni dedicated his most famous canvases, during the years in which he lived in Belprato, a small hamlet near Brescia, which became his ideal refuge.
The Brescia mountains: the Valle Sabbia
His first paintings were exhibited at the beginning of the 1910s, in a fleeting moment of good fortune, which suddenly vanished with the outbreak of war and his call to arms. In 1915, he was seriously wounded on Mount Sabotino during one of the battles of the Isonzo. When he returned to Belprato, he started painting again and exhibited his mountain landscapes in Brescia.
Although he did not take part in national exhibitions, Edoardo Togni was very successful locally: during the 1920s he won several prizes from the critics at the Brescian exhibitions of the Società Arte in Famiglia.
During this period, he lived in the centre of Brescia, but often moved to paint in the mountains of the Valle Sabbia. He adopted a hard, material brushstroke, which gave his paintings a decidedly expressive and personal taste that was anything but obvious. In fact, his naturalism is carried forward thanks to an accurate and intimate study of light, as can be seen in the painting Degnagna mountains in the dawn light taken by the Belprato game. A golden luminosity pervades the sky and the peaks of the Brescian mountains, built up through a spatulate and textured colour that lets the luminous background shine through the cracks that open up in the rapid brushstroke.
Some paintings, especially from the first phase, may be part of a Divisionist style learnt in Previati’s studio, but for the rest of his production, a style that oscillates between Impressionism and Expressionism prevails, always focused on the atmospheric and luministic restoration of his beloved Lombardian mountains and his favourite place, Pertica Alta in Valle Sabbia.
A slow and thoughtful artist, he was not particularly in the spotlight of many official exhibitions, but he was definitely appreciated, and still is, in the Brescia area and more generally in Lombardy. Active until the 1950s, he died in Vestone, in Valle Sabbia, in 1962.