Pompeo Borra biography




Pompeo Borra was an Italian painter.He was born in Milan on 28 January 1898 to a family of humble origins and lost his father at just 9 years old.

The young man Borra decides to attend the technical institute and then continue his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera until, in 1916, he decided to leave as a volunteer for fight on the Italian front during the First War World War.

At the end of the war, he returned to Milan and began to dedicate himself to art and painting  creating a series of paintings characterized by a primitivist character, in which the characters were only sketched and the final setting seemed to belong to another dimension.

From 1920 onwards the artist constantly took part in various exhibitions of the Family Artistica Milanese  which led him to establish himself on the national scene and to achieve important goals, such as participation in the Venice Biennale. Pompeo Borra's works in fact, were exhibited for the first time in 1924 and are all united by the presence of powerful subjects and strong and with  primitive features. Thanks to this exhibition, the artist is noticed by Carlo Carrà, who decides to praise his compositions despite the harsh traits of the characters.

The works of Pompeo Borra are influenced by the artistic movements of the twentieth century, which is why the painter was able to join several intellectual circles, including the one led by Margherita Sarfatti, with with whom he will have the opportunity to collaborate both in Italy and abroad.

In the following years he organized a personal exhibition at the Galleria Bardi in Milan, where he decided to exhibit old and new works characterized by a drastic change, especially regarding the brightness and intensity of the colors. If the paintings of Pompeo Borra were characterized by chromatic nuances rather dark and dark, orra instead focus on the presence of clear colors and bright, capable of emphasizing not only the scenario of the painting, but also the expressions of all the characters depicted in it.

In 1936 the artist decided to go to Paris in 1936 to distance himself from what, according to him, were the classical influences of Italian culture.

Following this experience, however, Pompeo Borra experiences a further change which leads him to approach the style of Matisse, therefore resorting to very intense colors such as blue, the red, yellow and green, elements that characterize a new pictorial style, which will be very popular in the years to come.

The artist never hid his political ideas so much so that he was arrested in 1940 for his anti-fascist ideas.

When the Second World War also ended, Pompeo Borra returned to dedicating himself to his beloved painting, also delving into other themes, such as the artistic criticism, which led him to publish a treatise on Piero della Francesca.

In this particular period of his life, the painter dedicated himself intensely to reproducing individuals isolated from society, using very intense colors to denote their social position and ensuring that each figure assumed the right importance in their world, given that in the real one they were only discredited.

In 1951 Pompeo Borra obtained the chair of painting in Brera, becoming first professor and then director of the academy until 1970.

In the last period of his life, he dedicated himself to perfecting the painting of female faces, giving them characteristics that he had never focused on and intensifying the expressiveness of the woman, whose fundamental trait was precisely the gaze .

Pompeo Borra passed away in Milan in 1973.