Giovanni Boldini

Master of Swish

Giovanni Boldini’s glamorous portraits conjure the brilliant world of the Belle Époque. Born in Ferrara in 1842, Boldini’s career took him first to Florence, then London, then Paris, where his exquisite and nostalgic genre paintings captivated America’s robber baron collectors. But Boldini was pre-eminently a portraitist, and once introduced to Parisian high society, his destiny as a fashionable flatterer of cosmopolitan beauties and aspiring ladies of the beau monde was underway. Boldini’s virtuoso style is unmistakable: vibrant and exuberant strokes of paint capture light, form, movement, and expression with dizzying, explosive energy. Evoking the dazzling and sensuous modernity of fin de siècle Paris, Boldini’s vivid paintings of European aristocrats, American heiresses, and expensive courtesans alike won him an apt title – The Master of Swish.


Video produced and directed by Carolyn H. Miner.

Videography by Valentin Meneveau.

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