Vernizzi and the Color of Affections

A journey through Renato Vernizzi's family portraits

Autoritratto con cappello (1924) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

Opening the path is a self-portrait, of twentieth-century appeal, perhaps the first of many made by the artist, aware that he possesses a certain physique du rôle: almost like an actor, here he is in this 1924 self-portrait.

Autoritratto (allo specchio dello studio) (1965) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

The genre of the portrait shows the stylistic evolution of Vernizzi, who in the 1950s studied Diego Velázquez, Frans Hals, Francisco Goya, Édouard Manet and Giovanni Boldini. Forty years later, he is in a new self-portrait.

Autoritratto col cappello di paglia (1968) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

His line gradually becomes more refined and refined, focusing on light and colors, without ever undermining the fresh immediacy typical of his work, as is clearly evident in this self-portrait.

I fratellini (1948/1949) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

Through the numerous family portraits, Vernizzi returns the plot of a simple and reassuring everyday life. The background is often the home and the garden of the house in Viale Marche in Milan. The work "The brothers" shows Luca and Isabella sitting on the sofa.

Isabella con la girandola (1948) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

His daughter Isabella, defined by the artist himself as "a delightful inspiration", is the most frequently represented family subject. Here she is, small and plump, in "Isabella with the pinwheel" (1949), portrayed in a moment of poetic enchantment.

Isabella (1954) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

In this painting from 1954, Isabella is portrayed as an older girl, resting with a little affectation, almost like a small model, but with the estranged and dreamy gaze of a little girl who perhaps would like to run to play.

Isabella, il gatto e i pesci rossi (1954) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

All the magic of childhood is contained in the work "Isabella, the cat and the goldfish", also from 1954, where the small pose surrounded by the beloved black cat and goldfish.

Luca fa i compiti (1945 (ma 1947)) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

The son Luca, whose father portrays his growth with a thoughtful gaze, is a schoolboy with blond hair and a black apron in "Luca does his homework" and "Luca rests after homework" from 1947. The short narrative sequence offers the starting point for a tender story of domestic life.

Luca si riposa dopo i compiti (1947) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

Ritratto di Luca di spalle alla finestra (1956) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

The "Portrait of Luke with his back to the window" (1956) shows the growing son, a small man, serious and composed, who looks at his father attentively.

Ritratto di mia moglie (1953) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

The portraits of his wife, the painter Maria Teresa Cavalli, are also of great charm. An elegant woman, she almost looks like a lady from other times in this portrait from 1953, a work skillfully built on the refined harmony of color contrasts.

Maria Teresa con cappello di feltro (1961) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

In this portrait from 1961, the wife is decidedly more contemporary in clothing (the sweater and hat) and the red lipstick, which enhances the warm amber color of the earrings.

The Platters (1961) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

Adolescence, music, changing tastes. The protagonist of this painting is the daughter Isabella, with short hair, but also the setting, with the title drawn from the disc in the background: "The Platters" (1961).

Il padre seduto sulla sedia (1954) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

The father, portrayed in a pensive attitude, is the subject of this 1954 painting, where all the tenderness of the painter's gaze towards the elderly parent emerges.

Ritratto di mio padre (1957) by Renato VernizziAPE Parma Museum

Again his father Ettore, a decorator in whose workshop Renato Vernizzi became passionate about colors, is portrayed here in the midst of canvases and frames, intent on reading the newspaper while smoking a cigar.

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