Ardengo Soffici biography

Ardengo Soffici pittore

Ardengo Soffici was born in Rignano sull'Arno on 7 April 1879 and established himself as an eclectic Italian artist, known as a painter, writer, poet and essayist. Raised in a family of wealthy farmers, he spent his childhood in Bombone, developing a passion for art and literature from a young age, expressing himself through painting and poetry. His life takes a turning point in 1893 when, following his move to Florence, he witnesses his father's financial ruin, an event that leads him to poverty and forces him to work in a law firm. Despite the difficulties, Ardengo Soffici continues to cultivate his artistic vocation, attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence and the School of the Nude, where his teachers are Giovanni Fattori and Telemaco Signorini . In this period he met important figures such as Giuseppe Graziosi, with whom he established a deep friendship.
In 1900, upon the death of his father and the transfer of his mother to Poggio a Caiano, he decided to leave for Paris, a crucial step for his career . In Paris, he works as an illustrator and comes into contact with artists of the caliber of Guillaume Apollinaire , Pablo Picasso and Max Jacob . This Parisian period was fundamental for his education, not only artistic but also literary, writing for magazines such as La plume and L'Europe artiste.
Returning to Florence in 1907, Ardengo Soffici strengthens his friendship with Giovanni Papini, with whom he founded the magazine "La Voce" in 1908, actively contributing to the cultural debate of the time. He also became a collaborator of magazines such as "La Riviera Ligure", published by the Novaro brothers, and "Lacerba", which he founded together with Papini and Aldo Palazzeschi in 1913, becoming a point of reference for Italian futurism.
His active participation in the artistic and literary scene led him to clashes with the futurists, as demonstrated by the episode of the brawl at the "Giubbe Rosse" café in Florence. However, his relationship with the futurist movement evolves, leading to his joining thanks to the mediation of Palazzeschi. During the First World War, he volunteered, participating in several combats and being wounded twice. This war experience profoundly influenced his work, as can be seen in "Kobilek-Giornale di battle" and "The retreat of Friuli".
After the war, Ardengo Soffici became a fervent supporter of fascism, signing the Manifesto of fascist intellectuals in 1925 and joining the Academy of Italy on Mussolini's proposal in 1939. His support for the regime is also manifested through his collaboration with magazines such as "Il Popolo d'Italia" and "Italia e Civiltà".
However, over the years, Ardengo Soffici changes style, moving from an avant-garde approach to a more traditional one , as can be seen in his literary and artistic works. Despite his political commitment, his artistic production continues to receive recognition, such as the Marzotto prize for literature in 1955.
Ardengo Soffici died on 19 August 1964 in Vittoria Apuana, leaving a complex and multifaceted cultural legacy, which reflects the various phases of his artistic and intellectual journey, as well as the changes in the Italian historical and cultural context of the 20th century.