Pietro Annigoni was born in Milan in June 1910.
He spent his first years of study attending the Regio Liceo Ginnasio Giuseppe Parini in Milan. Passionate about art from a young age, he spends much of his free time studying Leonardo da Vinci's drawings to learn their skills and technique.
He moved with his family to Florence from the age of fifteen, where he studied at the Collegio dei Padri Scolopi to take the classical high school diploma. He began studying art and drawing at the Free Nude School. He then continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts with professors of a certain importance. Among his teachers, well-known personalities such as Felice Carena for painting and Giuseppe Graziosi for sculpture. In these years Pietro Annigoni forms his strong and passionate character and begins to take an interest in all aspects of culture.
During his Florentine youth he binds himself with a certain prominent personality in the cultural sphere of the time. He becomes friends with the scholar Renzo Simi and the painter and sculptor Mario Parri, and with other renowned art scholars.
It is in this stimulating atmosphere and surrounded by intellectuals that Pietro Annigoni begins to participate in the debate on art, showing his strong personality and stance. Endowed with autonomy and considerable independence, he does not take part in contemporary currents or movements.
During these years he made friends that became very important to him with young promises from the world of art and literature. It is precisely in the studio of the sculptor and friend Mario Parri that he meets Anna Maggini, a young student of the conservatory whom he will marry in 1937.
The works of Pietro Annigoni are exhibited for the first time to the public together with those of other artists in 1930 in Florence.
Also in Florence, just two years later, in 1932 he exhibited in a solo show at Palazzo Ferroni in the Bellini Gallery, obtaining great success, recognition and winning the coveted Trentacoste prize.
In 1936 the works of Pietro Annigoni became quite well known to national critics following a personal exhibition in Milan much appreciated and appreciated by the public.
His craving for knowledge and knowledge led him to travel a lot and visit many European countries, stopping to study the Nordic Renaissance art of Germany. The love for travel, for nature, for walks in the countryside allow him to grasp a profound aspect of nature that he manages to interpret with extreme sensitivity by combining it with the representation of the human soul.
Signatory in 1947 together with Gregorio Sciltian, Xavier, Antonio Bueno, Alfredo Serri and others of the Manifesto of the Modern Painters of Reality , he was the only one who remained faithful to it. With this manifesto, the group of artists stood in sharp contrast to the informal artistic currents that arose in those years. Pietro Annigoni with his works characterized by the classical and aesthetic taste of the Renaissance will be the only one who will never betray its principles.
He himself says: 'I am convinced that the works of today's avant-garde are the poisoned fruit of a spiritual degradation with all the consequences of a tragic loss of love for life'.
His style will in fact remain faithful to the techniques of the Renaissance. Pietro Annigoni with his realist works, builds his artistic path in strong contrast with the pictorial styles of those years.
One of the outstanding features of Pietro Annigoni's works is the representation of the truth, strongly manifested in the portraits he performs especially on commission. Portraiture will soon become what will distinguish him most and will make him a highly appreciated artist, especially abroad.
In 1958 he went to the United Kingdom where, in London, he made several portraits of English royalty. From the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II his fame expands. His career as a commissioned portrait painter continued with paintings for the likes of Alcide De Gasperi, Pope John XXIII, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Philip of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret, the Queen Mother, Empress Farah, Margaret of Denmark. For this long series of subjects he will be called by the name The Painter of the Queens .
His skill and passion for painting is also manifested by dedicating himself to the religious frescoes that can be found today in numerous basilicas and churches. His great charisma led him to apply his unique technical skills in the world in gigantic works such as frescoes and in small lithographs with a very intense character.
The greatest production of sacred and religious works takes place between 1958 and 1980. The works of Pietro Annigoni, in those years will all be dedicated to the creation of decorative cycles with a sacred theme. The most important are those for the church of San Martino in Castagno d’Andrea, those for the sanctuary of the Madonna del Buon Consiglio in Ponte Buggianese, for the Main Church of the Abbey of Montecassino and for the Basilica of Sant'Antonio in Padua.
One of the most important works by Pietro Annigoni that kept him busy from 1967 onwards is the pictorial cycle depicted in the parish church of San Michele Arcangelo in Ponte Buggianese.
He worked on this work until 1988, the year in which on October 28 he died surrounded by his Italian and foreign students. His body is buried at the Porte Sante cemetery in San Minato al Monte.
His friend Bernard Berenson wrote of him: 'Pietro Annigoni is not only the greatest painter of this century, but he is also able to compete on an equal footing with the greatest painters of all centuries. He will remain in the history of art as the protester of a dark age. '