Gerardo Bianchi was born in Monza in 1845 and is the younger brother of the more famous painter Moses. The son of the portrait painter Giosuè, he was introduced to drawing and painting by his father during his early years of training in Monza. Later, following in his brother’s footsteps, he moved to Milan to attend the Brera Academy of Fine Arts.
A pupil of Giuseppe Bertini, immediately after graduating, he began teaching painting at the Collegio Bosisio in Monza, succeeding his father. This teaching commitment accompanied Gerardo Bianchi throughout his life and was constantly combined with his work as a painter and draughtsman. In his early years, his career was devoted to miniature painting on enamel and ivory, which enabled the artist to perfect his drawing technique and attention to detail.
From miniature to genre painting, following his brother Mosè
In 1878, he took part in the Turin Exhibition with the Portrait of King Umberto in oil on canvas and the watercolour The Bride and Groom, which he reproduced in several variations over the years. Despite this first public experience, Gerardo Bianchi’s painting activity only really took off after the death of his brother Moses in 1904.
He was particularly fond of portraits, landscapes and delicate, light genre scenes, and adopted a style of painting with evanescent outlines and a full, rapid brushstroke, embracing the same lively, brilliant and vivacious manner as Moses. The Brianza countryside, with its everyday moments linked to agriculture and the narration of the lives of peasants and farmers, is the protagonist of many of the painter’s canvases. He was also very attached to the Alpine environment, which he constantly portrayed with quick, luminous impressions, as can be seen in the intensely lyrical oil painting Poetic mountain presented at the Milan Exhibition for the Simplon Tunnel in 1906.
In Gerardo Bianchi’s more mature works there is a certain affinity with the language of his nephew Pompeo Mariani, son of his sister Giulia and interpreter of a fast, dynamic landscape painting and a fresh, brilliant genre painting. These characteristics can be seen in his works of the 1910s, including La grigna a Magreglio, Little goats, Lo zuccaro and Little shepherdess. He died in 1922 in Monza at the age of seventy-seven.