Massimo Campigli was born in Florence on July 4th 1895.
In 1909 he moves to Milan where he meets artists of the futurist movement. After having served in the army, in 1919 he moves to Paris where he works for 9 years as a journalist for an important newspaper in Italy, the “Corriere della Sera.” In the meantime, he begins painting as a hobby. His passion grows and his first solo exhibition is in 1923 at the Galleria Bragaglia in Rome. Campigli is initially attracted by the Purist movement, the influences of Fernand Léger, the neoclassic touches of Picasso and the uniqueness of metaphysical painting. However, in 1928 he visits Villa Giulia and its Etruscan collection in Rome where he is left absolutely fascinated by antique art. Thus, begins his research into Cretan, Pompeian, Coptic and Etruscan art which will inspire his artwork from then onwards. In 1929 he forms the group Seven Italians in Paris together with other artists such as Giorgio de Chirico and Gino Severini. That same year goes on show his first solo exhibit in Paris, at the Galerie Jeanne Bucher.
In the 30s, Campigli returns to Milan where, in 1933, together with de Chirico, Achille Funi and Mario Sironi, he works on some painted murals for the Palazzo dell’Arte. This will be the first of many murals he will work on in the following years. Campigli then travels to New York a few times where his artworks are exhibited at the Gallery Julien Levy in 1931, 1935 and 1939. After living a few more years in Paris, he will return to Italy where he lived between Venice and Milan during World War II.
His first solo exhibition in a museum is in 1946 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Two years later, Campigli will participate in the Venice Biennale where he will exhibit also in 1958, 1960 and 1962. Also active in the creation of graphic artworks, he illustrates several books, including “Il Milione” by Marco Polo in 1942, and “Thesée” by André Gide in 1948. He also writes several critical and autobiographical essays. From 1949 onwards he splits his time between Paris, Milan, Rome and St Tropez. Amongst his many solo shows, others worth mentioning are in the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague, in the Kunsthalle in Bern in 1955 and in the Palazzo Reale in Milan in 1967. The artist dies in St Tropez on May 31st 1971.