Born in Turin, Italy, Alighiero Boetti is a well known artist, with a stellar career that lasted for many decades. Prior to his death in 1994 at the age of 53, Alighiero Boetti had amassed an impressive body of work, and even after his death, he has continued to influence a new generation of artists, not only in his native Italy but throughout the entire world.
Throughout his decades of work, Alighiero Boetti developed a strong reputation as a painter, but painting was not the only form of artistic expression he used. Alighiero Boetti is also widely known for his work with mixed media, as well as for his movement art.
Best known as a modern conceptual artist, Alighiero Boetti was also a notable member of the Arte Povera movement. As part of that movement, Alighiero Boetti created some truly remarkable works, including both traditional paintings and mixed media representations.
Although his paintings are widely noted and highly prized, Italian conceptual artist Alighiero Boetti may be best known for a remarkable series of embroidered maps. These highly detailed maps of the world were created over a period of more than two decades, beginning in 1971 and continuing until his death in 1994. These embroidered maps of the world are distinguished by their size, their scope and the sheer audacity of their creation.
Born in Turin, Italy, Alighiero Boetti was the son of a lawyer and a violinist. The influence of art was clear right from the start, and his parents encouraged him to explore his own unique forms of artistic talent. While he first enrolled in business school to follow in the footsteps of one parent, Alighiero Boetti ended up abandoning those studies and focusing on the artistic side of his heritage instead.
Even as a young child, Alighiero Boetti had already developed wide-ranging and eclectic tastes, with interests in fields as divergent as philosophy and alchemy. Alighiero Boetti was just as interested in literature, and German-born Herman Hesse was a particular favorite.
Among his artistic influences was Paul Klee, a well-known artist who would play a powerful role in the formation of Alighiero Boetti as an artist in his own right. By the age of 17, Alighiero Boetti had also discovered the paintings of Wols, and Wols was another strong influence on the young artist.
By the age of 20, Alighiero Boetti had moved to Paris to continue his studies, this time in the art of engraving. While in France, he would meet an art critic by the name of Annemarie Sauzeau, the woman he later married.
After coming home from Paris, Alighiero Boetti continued his work in his native Turin, Italy, living and working among a close-knit community of artists. That community included other influential artists of the day, including Giulio Paolini and Luciano Fabro.
Always interested in the wider world, Alighiero Boetti would travel to Ethiopia, Guatemala and Sudan in the 1970s, exploring different cultures and learning the ways of fellow artists around the globe. Those travels would prove very beneficial to his growth as a man and an artist, and world influences are readily apparent in his later works.
Throughout his many decades of work, Alighiero Boetti was able to develop a powerful body of works - works that were both stunningly beautiful and deeply poetic. This combination of poetry and aestheticism is one of the most notable features of Alighiero Boetti's work, and it is among his signature contributions to the art world.
While Alighiero Boetti exerted a strong and powerful influence on the art world and on all who knew him, that influence was unfortunately short-lived. Alighiero Boetti died of a brain tumor in 1994 while in Rome, leaving the art world at the young age of 53.
His time in the art world may have been all too short, but the influence of Alighiero Boetti continues to resonate to this day. From his work with unusual materials like masonite, Plexiglass and plaster to his more traditional works of art, Alighiero Boetti was able to create a powerful legacy, one that his contemporaries continue to explore. At the same time, Alighiero Boetti has exerted a powerful influence on the next generation of artists, helping them reach their full potential and allowing them to break free of the confines of the traditional canvas.
Tavolapitagorica (Svedeseorizzontale), 1990
Embroidery on cotton, mounted on wooden panel
17 3/8 x 17 3/8 inches