When he was only 17, Gambogi received a grant from Livorno that allowed him to go to Florence in 1892, where he attended both the Academy of Fine Arts and Giovanni Fattori’s School for Drawing Nudes. In the same year, two of his pieces were accepted by the Fine Arts Society. He met Finnish artist, Elin Danielson, in the summer of 1896; after a year’s engagement, the two were married in 1898, at which point they moved to Torre del Lago (in the province of Lucca). These first years of married life were happy and prolific for both members of the couple.

Throughout their lives they were to form an artistic association, continuously working together and competing with each other. Elin devoted herself to interior settings of great expressivity, closer to her northern European training; Raffaello expressed the teachings of his masters, Angiolo Tommasi and Giovanni Fattori. At the beginning of the new century, the couple moved to Antignano, near Livorno. This change of residence marked a period of deep personal misunderstanding, so much so that in 1901 the couple went to Finland to find Elin’s family. The sojourn proved to be particularly hard for Raffaello, who had great difficulty fitting into this new environment.

Upon his return to Italy, Raffaello began to have health problems; a certain emotional instability led him to a mental hospital in Volterra, where for this reason, the couple wound up living for many years.

Written by : Cecilia Iacopetti – Translated by: Paola Ludovici and Nanette Cooper

© Studio d’Arte dell’800