Emilio Gola was born in Milan in 1851 into an aristocratic family who immediately initiated him to the study of painting. His father, an amateur painter count, supported him both in his engineering studies at the Polytechnic and in frequenting Sebastiano De Albertis’ studio, as a boy.
The artistic training of the young Gola is also encouraged by the succession of trips that he makes with his father in Holland and France, where he has the opportunity to update himself to the most recent artistic expressions. He made his debut at the Genoa Promoter in 1878 with an interior painting, Sacristy of the Chiesa delle Grazie in Milan, while the following year he exhibited a couple of life studies in Brera, which were also re-proposed in Turin.
Beggar, Page’s head, Half figure of a woman with fur and a Portrait appear at the Turin Exposition of 1880, the year in which he also participated in the Parisian Salon, which he will usually take part in for several other editions, full of awards and prizes.
He soon specialized in the creation of predominantly female portraits, and did not fail to dedicate a vast series of paintings to interior scenes and rural scenes that narrate the daily activities of Brianza. At the 1881 Milan Exposition he presented, in addition to a portrait, two studies from life, one of which along the canal, one of the favorite places of Golian poetics.
Therefore, a Lombard painter in all respects, he implements a lively and fast brushstroke, rich in expressive chromatic contrasts, present above all in the female figures, which than the male ones are more accurate from the point of view of curious detail and luministic effects.
He participates in the most important Italian art exhibitions, such as the 1883 Exhibition of Fine Arts in Rome, but also that of Venice in 1887, in which he presents Lago, Mestizia in autumn and a Studio of washerwomen. His Parisian acquaintances allow him to be noticed by the merchant Goupil who buys several of his paintings, but above all to obtain the silver medal in 1900 with a female portrait.
Since the beginning of the new century, he has devoted himself above all to landscape views of the Lombard countryside, with their seasonal rhythms, and of the Milanese canals, but also to a series of figure paintings that portray peasants, washerwomen and housewives of Brianza, captured in their more idyllic aspects. Paintings such as At the mill, Among the willows, Cloths in the sun, Half figure female, The brook at the house and Laundresses appear at the Venice Biennale.
He constantly frequents his villa in Olgiate Molgora, but also Liguria, especially when in recent years he has dedicated himself to a series of marinas such as Alassio. He obtains the greatest successes thanks to elegant worldly portraits or female nudes, such as Portrait of Miss Lydia Carminati, Portrait of Countess Maria Chiara Arese Pallavicino, Edvige, Rosetta, sensual representations of the elegant Milanese woman of the turn of the century.
In 1920, a solo show of his was set up at the Pesaro Gallery with more than one hundred works that decreed the artist’s final success and the crowning glory of his career shortly before his death, which occurred in 1923.