Giacinto Corsi di Bosnasco was born in Turin in 1829 into a family of the Piedmontese aristocracy. His father was in fact the first president of the Court of Appeal and Senator of the Kingdom. He therefore initially followed the path dictated to him by his father, undertaking studies in law to pursue a career in the judiciary. At the same time, however, Giacinto Corsi di Bosnasco cultivated his painting interests by going to the studio of E. Balbiano di Colcavagno and in 1854 he made the decision to abandon his studies in law to devote himself to painting.
Career in Piedmontese politics and administration
His farewell to the world of politics was not to be total and definitive, however, as he continued to hold political and administrative posts throughout his life. From 1861 to 1882, he was a municipal councillor in Turin and served as a member of the Chamber of Deputies during the 15th legislature. From 1864 he was a member of the Commission for Education.
In the field of art from 1863 he was a member of the board of directors of the Museo Civico di Torino and from 1878 he was specifically in charge of the Modern Art sector, a position he held until the year before his death. He was also vice-president at the Promotrice di Torino in 1897 and president of the Circolo degli Artisti in 1903-1904.
Giacinto Corsi di Bosnasco simultaneously pursued a fruitful artistic career, producing a vast production of works, his style placing him in a moderate position between the romantic Piedmontese tradition and the new naturalistic influences from beyond the Alps.
As a painter, he participated in numerous editions of the Turin Exhibitions: in 1847 he exhibited Veduta di Gassino (a copy from Cerruti); in 1853 Paese d’invenzione (Country of Invention), with an episode taken from Canto XXXIII of Orlando Furioso; at the 1854 edition he participated with Un ricordo delle Langhe (A Memory of the Langhe) and Un ricordo dell’Oberland (A Memory of the Oberland); at the 14th Exhibition in 1855 he exhibited L’Alba veduta nelle lande di Ciriè (Dawn seen in the moors of Ciriè), Tramonto del sole sulla Jungfrau (Alpi Bernesi) (Sunset on the Jungfrau (Bernese Alps), Una sera negli Appennini (An Evening in the Apennines); and in 1856 Prima dell’uragano (Before the Hurricane) and Un giorno d’autunno (An Autumn Day).
In addition to the Turin Exhibitions, he also participated in the Milan Exhibition of 1881 with three works: Evening in Comacchio – village, Monte Rosa – gift to the city of Turin, Libeccio – marina; and at the National Exhibition in Rome in 1883 with The Island of Santo Stefano.
Landscape painting and the power of nature
In 1855, Giacinto Corsi di Bosnasco undertook a trip to Paris and came into contact with the masters of Barbizon and their way of conceiving landscape painting: this changed his way of painting, as can be seen in the works executed after this trip. Examples of this change are The Solitude, exhibited at the 19th Turin Exhibition in 1860; Last Autumn Smiles exhibited the following year; A Quiet Hour of 1863; and The First Fogs exhibited at the 23rd Turin Exhibition in 1864. A sentimental accentuation involving nature can be perceived in these works.
Giacinto Corsi from Bosnasco undertook numerous journeys that took him to Liguria, Switzerland, Holland, Normandy and Sardinia, as evidenced by Coste della Normandia exhibited at the XVII Turin Exhibition in 1858; Tramonto del sole sulla riviera di Genova and Ricordo di Bordighera with which he participated together with Il Monviso dalla collina at the XVIII Turin Exhibition in 1859. Effetto di luna sulle scogliere di Sestri Levante (Moon effect on the cliffs of Sestri Levante) and Alta marea (Memory of the Normandy beaches) were exhibited at the XXXVII Turin Exhibition in 1878.
Giacinto Corsi from Bosnasco devoted himself to the great spectacles of nature, above all he was fascinated by the sea, often depicted in a storm, becoming Piedmont’s greatest marine artist. Works that emphasise this romantic attraction for the seascape and its power are, for example, La brezza marina (memory of the Gulf of Genoa) exhibited at the XXVI Turin Exhibition in 1867; La voce del mare with which he participated in the 1868 edition; Burrasca sulla scogliera di Boccadasse presso Genova exhibited at the XXIX Turin Exhibition in 1870; Dopo la tempesta (ricordo delle scogliere di Porto Venere) which he exhibited at the XXXV Exhibition in 1876; and Dopo il naufragio with which he participated in 1879.
The grandeur and spirituality of the mountains was also captured in his canvases, the Alps being one of his favourite subjects as in Monviso in the Morning, exhibited in 1863 at the Exhibition of the Society of Encouragement to Fine Arts in Turin; Monte Rosa at dawn, from the hills of Turin, with which he participated in the XXXII Turin Exhibition of 1873; Loneliness in the Alps (Glacier of Macugnaga, Anzasca Valley Monrosa) exhibited at the 1875 edition; and The First Rays (Monte Rosa) exhibited at the XXXIX Turin Exhibition of 1880.
The brushstrokes that characterise his works are very casual, the cuts in the painted scenes are random and this brings him very close to the French naturalism of the Barbizon school. Giacinto Corsi di Bosnasco died in 1909 in Turin.
Emanuela Di Vivona