Gino Bonichi was a complex, interesting character nicknamed Scipione because of his great height.

Scipione La ciociara
Woman from Ciociaria 1930ca

He met Mario Mafai in 1924 and died in 1933 from tuberculosis contracted as a child.

Despite his short life, he left an indelible mark on the Roman art world.

He was born in Macerata in 1904. and moved to Rome with his family in 1910.


Sara portrait by Scipione
Portrait of Sara 1927 ca

The most interesting phase of his career began when he joined the Via Cavour group with Mario Mafai and Antonietta Raphael, whose knowledge of international art strongly influenced his work.

Scipione‘s literary interests also inspired his art.

He once painted an expressionist portrait of his friend Giuseppe Ungaretti.

Reds and browns dominate his paintings.

Rome is a recurring theme, a decadent, Baroque Rome inhabited by characters symbolizing a corrupt, lustful society.

Someone once wrote that Scipione’s paintings were red-hot and belonged to a mysticism that bled gold from the soul and lead from paper. He was inspired by the Roman Baroque and painters like El Greco and Masaccio. Contemporaries included Chagall and the Russian-born, naturalized French citizen Chaim Soutine, both of whom he met through Raphael, of course.

He tried to seize upon all the expressive possibilities of the human figure, which he portrayed freely in both form and color. He purposely looked for deformations and contrasts. and eliminated space, scattering the surface with objects, and creating obscure compositions full of mysterious meaning.

Woman combing her hair Via Cavour school Scipione
Woman combing her hair by Scipione

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