Silvio Tommasoli

Silvio (Verona 1878 – 1943), son of Filippo Tommasoli, a parchment maker and calligrapher from Urbino, completed his studies at the Cignaroli art school, the director of which was the photographer Lotze; his teachers were Napoleone Nani and Mosé Bianchi.

In 1898 he moved to Milan and studied further at the Brera academy of art where he qualified as a teacher. He began to devote himself to painting, graphics – he designed the cover of the monthly magazine L’Amore Illustrato in January 1900 which inaugurated the new century – and photography; he began to collaborate with the historic printing firm Eliotipia Calzolari Ferrario with which he took part in the Paris universal exposition in the same year.

In 1902, together with his friend Bressanini, he opened a photographic studio in Recoaro, the fashionable spa, which was frequented by such friends of his as the poet Barbarani, the anthropologist Callegari, and the painter Boccioni…

This was the period in which the young Tommasoli began to explore and deepen his photographic language which he then perfected in a highly personal way interpreting, at times in an ironic manner, the strong social role that now began to characterise the explosion of the mass media and, at other times, producing highly provocative photographs.

In 1906 he opened his first studio in Verona, in Via XX Settembre, from where he was later to move, first to Via Sant’Andrea, and then to Via San Nicolò, in 1922. He began to devote his professional work to portraiture and landscape photography which he undertook in a non-pictorial way, though still making to this tradition certain allusion. He also undertook experimental work which indicated his particular interest in the action (event) of photography itself; at times this overrode the subject represented and became an open statement about the process (the rite) of the making.