Project Description

Fabio Fabbi (Bologna 1861 – 1946), The master’s choice

Oil on canvas cm 70 x 40 signed (F. Fabbi) lower left.

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Fabio Fabbi’s beginnings see him involved in the study of sculpture with Augusto Rivalta, a training course that culminates with the diploma obtained in 1880. Nominated teacher in Florence in ’93 and academic in Bologna in ’94, Fabio is active in Emilia, where he realizes with his brother Alberto an altarpiece for the archpriest church of S. Giovanni in Persiceto. He lives in Paris, in Germany and in Poland, in Warsaw: his wanderings to Europe culminates with the participation in the International Exhibition of Monaco of ’89. He travels to Egypt where he lives with his brother, obtaining reasons and studies that he will then develop at long at home, in genre paintings. In 1906 he exhibited medal models at the Milan Sempione International Exhibition; in 1911 he was present in the International Exhibition of Modern Christian Art in Paris, with Puvis de Chavanne, Denis and Corriére.
Fabio Fabbi gives proof of his versatile talent also in the illustration of books, a genre in which he engages with a popular vein and ductility; they remember the Odyssey, the Iliad, the Aeneid. He was also a Salgarian illustrator obtaining consensus from the critics as well: “he was able to profuse a particular graceful oriental dream atmosphere in the writer’s books, in which (they appear) the detailed shreds of an exotic world, rendered with a shared and inspired eye”, as he wrote A. Faeti.

Fabio Fabbi

But Fabbi is today known above all for having embodied the greatest representative of the Orientalist painting current that can be traced back to the Emilia region to Alberto Pasini: in fact, Fabio exercised a constant adherence to the picturesque genre throughout the thirty years of activity, associating themes of exoticism and travel a quick and lively sketches.
The painting presented here, dating from the thirties of the twentieth century, is considered one of the happiest and most successful versions of the subject known as The Choice of the Master, or the sale of slaves, anecdotal theme that Fabbi places in a button via de Cairo, in which stands out the figure, shrouded in mystery, of the client, the face partially covered by the white tunic, concentrated to examine the merchandise offered to him by the slave merchant.