Giovanni Boldini (1842 – 1931, Italian)

Giovanni BoldiniGiovanni Boldini (1842 – 1931, Italian) was primarily a portrait painter and was named the “Master of Swish” because of his swift bold flowing brush strokes.

Boldini was interested in art from a young age. Growing up in Florence, he attended the Florence Academy of Fine Arts. After traveling to London, he began working as a portraitist and painted primarily upper class women. It was Guiseppi Verdi who introduced Boldini to the world of opera and to the upper class who attended performances. Everyone who was anyone wanted a portrait done by Boldini. He moved to Paris in 1872 and became friends with Edgar Degas. He received the Legion d’Honneur in 1889.

Boldini painted his subjects in a flattering sophisticated style and in a soft focus. They are almost always in some sort of movement. The cats that he has included in portraits seem to become one with the woman.

In 2010, a flat was discovered in Paris that had been unopened for 70 years. This was owned by Boldini’s muse Marthe de Florian, a French actress. A full length portrait painted of her by Boldini in 1888 was found. The portrait has never been published, listed or exhibited. However, a similar portrait hangs in the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Boldini died of pneumonia in Paris on July 11th, 1931, and he is buried in his hometown of Ferrara, Italy.



A Lady with a Cat — Giovanni Boldini

A Lady with a Cat




Giovanni Boldini, Lady with a Tabby Cat

Lady with a Tabby Cat



Giovanni Boldini, Portrait of Josefine Errazuriz Holding a Cat

Portrait of Josefine Errazuriz Holding a Cat




Giovanni Boldini, Woman at the piano (with a cat)

Woman at the piano (with a cat)



Giovanni Boldini, The Girl with a Black Cat

The Girl with a Black Cat



Want to know more about the cat in art, history and literature? Then Revered and Reviled is the book for you. Now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats


Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat, cat history, cats

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