Although he does not sell his paintings, Giuseppe Boschetti is well known in his native Romagna (a region of North East Italy). His paintings are so much a part of him that he prefers to keep them on display in his house for family and friends, where they almost completely cover the walls of his apartment in Santarcangelo’s historic centre.
The artist’s studio is as chock full of detail as one of his paintings. A small, low table next to the easel is filled with paintbrushes in jam jars. Other surfaces are crammed with knickknacks: the top of one cupboard is crowded with empty glass bottles, another with wooden models. Look around and you see a vintage radio, an arrangement of seashells in a basket. A collection of modern art books sits inside one of the bookcases, pencil sketches hang on the walls. Light enters through skylights in the sloping roof, which ‘Pino’ warns us not to bang our head on.
His granddaughter Matilde scoots in and out: “You’ll stay for lunch, won’t you?”
Boschetti’s paintings show an Italy of days gone by: street scenes, a barber’s shop, a brass band, a bar brawl. They are based on reality with a healthy dose of fantasy; some might even say irony. Not quite caricatures, his characters definitely have something of the absurd about them. They are amazingly detailed.
“Every time I look at this painting I discover something new” says Pino’s son (and PocketCultures co-founder) Marcello, standing in front of a larger-than-life sized painting of a bustling village scene. “Take this corner” he says, pointing to a small section of the painting “it could be a painting on its own”.
Asked to describe his painting style, Boschetti admits to meticulous preparation. Before even starting to paint, each detail, each character has been planned out in a series of pencil sketches. When he starts the painting, it’s already complete in his head.
“I start painting at the top left of the canvas and advance diagonally towards the bottom right. I paint everything straight off – I don’t retouch anything”
He is entirely self-taught:
“At the time I chose my career I was insecure and needed money. So I had to study business instead. For a long time I painted only occasionally, when I felt the need. When my children grew up I started to paint more regularly”
Boschetti’s early paintings don’t show faces. He started to paint faces for the first time around 1980. The paintings are not dated, but sometimes there’s a clue. In one it’s a newspaper, in another the year is hidden in the number plate of a scooter.
Family is important to Pino. He tells us proudly how Matilde is starting to draw, shows us some of her sketches. Then he moves onto an anecdote about a painting hanging on the wall where we happen to be standing. It shows a group of bowls players, one of whom is bent over with both feet pointing inwards. The position looks uncomfortable, if not downright unlikely, and apparently Marcello once told him so.
“Funny that he picked on that figure, because it was modelled on Marcello himself!”
Laughing, Giuseppe disappears into the kitchen to help his wife with the final preparations for lunch.
Giuseppe Boschetti is one of the sellers we work with in our PocketButiks online boutiques project. Find out more about the artist on his own website www.boschetti.net or on the Boschetti prints butik page on PocketButiks (where you can buy limited edition signed prints).
About the authorLucy