bettina

I was born in Bologna on 6th September 1898. In 1902 I moved to Perugia. I began to sketch and to draw portraits as a young girl, without any guidance whatsoever; I was keenly interested in literature and art and amused myself by making portraits of my friends. Many years later I found that those early works had been jealously preserved. In 1929 I married Brajo, with whom I lived an intense life for more than fifty years. How many memories…

Of him I would only like to say that he was a man of rare intelligence and generosity, a “great soul” besides being a great artist. It was Brajo who advised me to enrol at the Pietro Vannucci Academy of Fine Arts in Perugia where my teachers included Arturo Checchi. However, after almost two years, I felt that the Academy was not fulfilling my needs and desires and continued to work on my own, mainly creating landscapes and portraits of subjects who I found particularly interesting. I felt free to work as I pleased and to do what I wanted!

I have held personal exhibitions at Naples, Rome, Milan, Bolzano, La Spe­zia, San Marino, Termoli, Temi, Foligno, Perugia, etc., and some of my paintings were also exhibited at various editions of the Quadriennale. Since I had friends in Paris, I was able to frequent parisian artistic and cultural circles which filled me with enthusiasm. In Paris I held an exhibition in the Faubourg St. Honoré where I received, in fact, much acclaim and the attention of French critics including the famous Pierre de Colom­biere. In Perugia many artistic, literary and intellectual friends like Gian­na Manzini, Enrico Falqui, Casorati, Mafai, Guttuso (who painted a portrait of me in 1932), Aurelio De Felice, Prof.Argan, Zavattini, Ungaret­ti, Massimo Binazzi, Pino and Nini Menichetti, and others, came to visit me and to talk…many interesting subjects were discussed. Today it is said that my salon was, especially just before the last war, one of the most lively centres of culture in the city. Towards the end of the 60’s I stopped painting… not even I can explain why; I did not feel like working any more, I had received so much recognition, prizes, (1932: gold medal at the 1st exhibition of female art – Perugia; 1936: Prize at the Vth exhibition of inter-provincial art – Temi; 1952: Prize at the national exhibition “For a new Umbria” – Perugia; Silver medal at the art exhibition of the Umbrian Artists’ Union – Perugia; 1954: Prize at the exhibition ” The Umbrian landscape” – Perugia; Recognition at the regional art exhibition – Foligno; 1964: Gold medal at the ‘VIIIth Termoli-Termoli Prize), satisfying, and yet. To this day, ever since I stopped painting, I have dedicated all my energy exclusively to the achievement of Brajo’s idea and desire to transform the villa at Montemalbe – the Fuseum – into a centre for artistic and cultural activity at the service of the city.

October 1983

firmabettina