Adolfo Mattielli, Painter from Soave




Adolfo Mattielli was born in 1883 into a humble family of millers.  From his early years in school, he showed a vocation for painting.  He attended the school of Arts and Professions in Verona and later enrolled in the Cignaroli Academy.  While he was studying at the Academy, he also spent much time at home painting from real life.  In Soave, he met the Venetian painter Guglielmo Talamini, who invited him to his studio in Venice for a year to perfect his skills.  When he returned to Soave, not long before the birth of prince Umberto di Savoia, Mattielli sent one of his paintings of a sleeping putto to king Victor Emanuel III, with wishes that the child would be a boy.  The king very much appreciated the painting and sent back not only his praise, but two hundred lire.  From this point, commissions soon began arriving for Mattielli and his fame gradually grew.  He participated twice in Venice’s Biennale and many of his works were purchased by the city governments of Verona and Venice.  In 1914, he opened his own studio at the foot of the Soave’s della Scala Castle in that small gothic church that one still finds climbing to the castle from Piazza dell’Antenna.  When World War I started, Mattielli was sent to Lecco with his regiment, and there organized an exposition of his work that was well received:  the city purchased one of his paintings and in Milan he was asked to be a judge on the commission for awarding the “Prince Umberto Prize”, among other honors.  In that period, he painted a large panel titled “Baccanale” for a café in Soave, next to today’s Bar Mattielli on Via Roma.  In this period he painted important works in Verona, Venice and Pisa.  In 1924, Mattielli commited fully to sacred art and painted the frescoes in the Parrocchiale of Soave and in San Daniele church in Lonigo.  The list of Mattielli’s sacred paintings is long, beginning in 1910 with the paintings of the miraculous Virgin and later the fresco of Mary in the Bassanella sanctuary, and following with work in Breganze, San Luca and Borgo Milano in Verona, and also in Treviso, Trento, Udine, Ferrara, Roma and La Spezia.  Between 1925 and 1960, Mattielli frescoed more than 50 churches.  More than large basilicas, Mattielli preferred the small, old churches in the mountains around Trent or in the Veneto plains.  In 1960 he returned to Soave where he painted children, maidens, the elderly, and the beloved grape harvest which is splendidly represented on large canvasses, two of which are in Villa Giavarina in Soave, and one in the Modern Art Gallery of Verona.  Affected by paralysis, Mattielli passed away December 13th, 1966.  The following year, the City of Soave named the street his home was on after him.  A plaque can still be seen there with a phrase by the poet Fragiocondo:  In this abode, Adolfo Mattielli depicted on canvas the poetry of his land and of his people.

Source:  The biography in Adolfo Mattielli, 1989