Evangelina Alciati – the first female painter to be admitted as a student to the Accademia Albertina in Turin – was born on this day in 1883.

By Martina Tanga

Evangelina Alciati – the first female painter to be admitted as a student to the Accademia Albertina in Turin – was born on this day in 1883. At the Accademia she studied with the painter Giacomo Grosso. Alciati painted his portrait in 1919; his expression is serious, perhaps masking the softness in his face. After graduating from the Accadema, Alciati briefly worked in Paris from 1903 to 1906, where she was exposed to the lively international art scene. On her return to Turin, her paintings began to gain notoriety and, in 1912, together with her painter friend Emma Ciardi, Alciati presented work at the Venice Biennale. Her oeuvre is composed mainly of portraits, most of which were commissions that enabled her to earn a living and live an independent life. She never married, but had a son Gabriele with fellow painter anacleto Boccalatte. Sadly Gabriele died in an alpine excursion on Mont Blanc in 1938, leaving Alciati grief-stricken and this tragedy deeply affected her painting. The story of her life was the basis of the 2015 film La libertà allo specchio. Ritratto di Evangelina Alciati. 

Self-portrait, 1945, Oil on canvas, Collection of the Alciati family. 

Portrait of Giacomo Grosso 1919, Oil on canvas, Fondazione de Fornaris

Portrait of Fiorenza Boccalatte, 1935, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection

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