Portrait of
Tommaso Grossi

Giovanni Carnovali, “il Piccio”
1826, oil on canvas
“This painting constitutes […] the very highest outcome achieved by the young Carnovali.” (F. Mazzocca, in “La Collezione Franco Maria Ricci”, Parma 2004), before becoming one of the most eccentric and experimental painters of Lombard Romanticism. Tommaso Grossi (1790-1853) was an Italian writer and poet who was friends with author Alessandro Manzoni. Giovanni Carnovali’s artistic talent was such

that he was accepted at the Carrara Academy of Bergamo aged just eleven. From the outset, he revealed his entirely self-taught skill, painting with soft, vaporous colours in the style of romanticism. He soon earned himself the nickname “il Piccio” (the “little one”), a name which would remain with him throughout his artistic life. The fluid brush stroke applied in touches and marks made him one of the most significant artists of the nineteenth century, and possibly the first to interpret the modern painting which would lead to the Scapigliatura movement and Divisionism, lending it an original, anti-conformist character in the process.