He was born the eighth of thirteen children, by Antonio, a native of Spoleto, and Welcome Caleffi. Antonio Boldini (1799 – 1872)  was a painter of matrix purist, a pupil of Tommaso Minardi (1787-1871), and restorer. It is said that, with considerable technical, eseguisse good copies of works by Raphael and Venetian painters. From his father, Zanin receives very young, the first lessons of drawing.
In Ferrara attends from 1858 studied painting by Girolamo Domenichini (1813 – 1891), who with his father Gaetano was the author of the frescoes in the local academic theater, and Giovanni Pagliarini (1809 – 1878), held in the Palazzo dei Diamanti. Here you have to know well the great fourteenth century Ferrara, in addition to Dosso Dossi and Parmigianino.
His first known work is The courtyard of his home, an oil painting dated to 1855, followed, dated to the end of the fifties, his Self-Portrait at sixteen and portraits of his brother Francis, Maria Angelini and Victor Carletti. In 1862 he enrolled at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, a pupil of Stefano Ussi (1822-1901) and the Chevalier Henry Pollastrini (1817 – 1876).
He attended the well-known haunt of Florentine artists, Caffè Michelangelo, where he met Giovanni Fattori, Edward Borrani, Signorini, the art critic and patron of the nascent movement of Macchiaioli Diego Martelli. Becomes inseparable friend of the painters Michael Gordigiani and Cristiano Banti which was a guest at his villas of Montorsoli and Montemurlo.
Already manifested their interest, that will never leave, for the salons of the aristocracy and upper classes elegant: a frequent guest of the British Falconer, decorate with tempera lying Cleaning, from 1867 to 1870, the walls of a room of their villa Pistoia “The Falconiera”: the villa will be purchased in 1938 by the widow of the painter and still preserves a hundred of his works and his memorabilia.
The frescoes depicting subject to character set in rural countryside in Tuscany, after the separation took place between 1974 and 1975, are now on display at the museum of the Old Bishop’s Palace in Pistoia. In 1866 he went to Naples with Banti, which portrays several times.
In 1867 he traveled to France with the Falconer: a Monte Carlo paints the Spanish General – “one of the best things of my youth” – as he said. A visit to the Paris Universal Exhibition and knows Edgar Degas, Alfred Sisley, and Édouard Manet. He settled in London in 1870, invited by William Cornwallis – West, known in Florence, which provides a study in the city center, frequented by high society but at the end of the year he was back in Florence.
In October of 1871 he settled in Paris opening a studio in the Avenue Frochol and then to Place Pigalle where he resides with his model Berthe. He works for the most important Parisian art dealer Goupil, for which already operate very successful painters such as Mariano Fortuny and Ernest Meissonier, as well as Italians Giuseppe Palizzi and Giuseppe De Nittis.
He painted a series of genre paintings, eighteenth-century environment, then much in vogue. Portrait of Giuseppe Verdi cylinder, 1886 pastel, Rome, National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art. In 1874 he exhibited with success at the Paris Salon The Washerwomen. End the relationship with Berthe and that starts with the Countess Gabrielle de Rasty which exposes a portrait at the Salon in 1875, returned briefly in May in Ferrara due to the death of the mother.
In 1876, traveling to Germany, where he met and portrays the great painter Adolph von Menzel while in the Netherlands the opportunity to appreciate the works of Frans Hals. It is now established and sought-after by the so-called beautiful world: in 1886, depicts a first time Giuseppe Verdi on canvas – will give him the portrait seven years later in Milan – but not satisfied with the outcome, portrays him again April 9, 1886, using pastel on paper, in just five hours.
The painter kept it to himself, presenting the Paris Exposition of 1889 and 1897 at the Venice Biennale, finally donating it to the Gallery of Modern Art in Rome in 1918. On February 5, 1887 assists in the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the first of Verdi’s Othello, receiving the gift of the score. In 1889 he was appointed commissioner of the Italian section of the Universal Exhibition in Paris, exposing yourself three of his portraits, including the well-known Portrait of Emiliana Concha de Ossa, nephew Chilean ambassador to the Vatican Luis Subercaseaux.
To the knowledge of the work of Anders Zorn Swedish you want to trace the choice of Boldini to increase the size of his paintings since the early nineties. In 1892 he returned to Italy in Montorsoli, host of Banti, to meet the demand of the Uffizi museum of his self-portrait, running in exchange for a copy of Bernini bust of Cardinal de ‘Medici. Back to Paris for a year gives painting lessons to the rich young American Ruth Sterling.
In the spring of 1900 was host to Palermo the Florio family, to execute the portrait of Franca, the outcome of which does not satisfy her husband Ignatius because of the wide neckline and bare legs just below the knee. Changed, the portrait after the financial collapse of the Florio, was bought in 1928 by Baron Rothschild for the enormous sum of one million lire.
Stolen by Nazi occupiers in Paris, the painting suffered serious damage in Germany so that it was necessary to cut it at the bottom. In the same year is once again present at the Paris Exposition with the portrait of Whistler at the Brooklyn Museum in New York and the Infanta Eulalia of Spain now preserved at the Museum of Ferrara Boldini. In 1904 asks Alaide Banti bride, daughter of the painter Christian, but the marriage fades and Paris Boldini starts an affair with Madame de Joss de Couchy.
With the start of the war, in 1914 he moved to Nice on the new model Lina until 1918, the year after he was awarded by the French Government of the Legion of Honour. Now sick, weak vision, in 1926 knows the young journalist Emilia Cardona, whom he married Oct. 29, 1929. He died in Paris on 11 January 1931 his remains are buried in the cemetery next to the parents of the Certosa of Ferrara. Source: Wikipedia.