Vittorio Maria BIGARI (Bologna, 1692 - Bologna, 1776)
The leading decorative painter in Bologna in the middle of the 18th century, Vittorio Maria Bigari began his career as a scenographic painter and stuccatore. He soon developed a particular reputation, however, as a master of large-scale mural and ceiling frescoes, often working as a figure painter in collaboration with designers of elaborate illusionistic architectural decorations, such as Stefano Orlandi. Among Bigari and Orlandi’s most important commissions in Bologna was the decoration of the Palazzo Aldrovrandi-Montanari; a project begun in 1722 and continued, off and on, for some thirty years. Bigari travelled extensively throughout Northern Italy, fulfilling commissions in Faenza, Milan, Ferrara and Turin, where he and Orlandi painted frescoes for the Palazzo Reale between 1738 and 1740. Although never enrolled in the Accademia Clementina in Bologna (indeed, he may have been largely self-taught), Bigari was four times elected principe of the institution between 1734 and 1773.