Genesio Boldrini (1904-1994) is probably best-known forbeing a house-painter. A house-painter with a difference,as you are about to find out. Unless of course you havealready been to his home at Sarigo, a hamlet of Castelveccana— between on Laveno and Luino — on Lake Maggiore, in northern Italy.Sarigo is in the province of Varese, although— as this plaque shows — it used to be a part of the province of Como.The entrance to the home of Genesio Boldrini,in Sarigo, a hamlet — or frazione, in Italian —of Castelveccana. Note the decorations under theentrance arch.The courtyard of the home of Genesio Boldrini. All painted by hand,all painted by the man himself over a period of 30 years — 1964-1994.The living room. The wall-paper is in fact hand-painted,as is the frieze.Genesio Boldrini did not stop at the walls:he painted the furniture too: see this corner-unitas well as the chair.Another example of the extraordinary skills of Genesio Boldrini.Houses, faces, people, and scenes of all kinds took shape on every surface.More hand-painted wall-paper in the home ofGenesio Boldrini, in Sarigo, Castelveccanaon Lake MaggioreDelicate patterns on the walls, while the panelson the window-shutters depict eye-catching scenesColorful credenza in the living room of GenesioBoldrini’s house in Sarigo, a hamlet of Castelveccana,on Lake Maggiore between Laveno and Luino, or— depending on which direction you’re coming from —Luino and Laveno. Either way, well worth the time.A close-up of the credenza. Genesio Boldrini spent two years at theBrera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, but his genius was surely all his own.Another handsomely rendered piece of furniture.Having left Sarigo at an early age, Boldrini returnedhome in 1964, when he was 60, at which point he decidedto dedicate his time to painting his house.Detail of one of the frescoes painted by GenesioBoldrini in his home in Sarigo, a hamlet ofCastelveccana, on Lake Maggiore.Another wall painting executed by Genesio Boldrini.We can only wonder at the source of inspirationfor all these highly-original works. He did so muchand went to so many places, some of his own free will,some not, before settling in his home village ofSarigo in 1964, at the age of 60.Tirelessly creative, Genesio Boldrini lived alonein his house in Via Genesio in Sarigo,a hamlet of Castelveccana, which is also the home ofthe Sotto gli Archi di Sarigo festival, thetwentieth edition of which was heldon 22-23 August 2009.Was there an overall strategy or did he justadd things as he thought of them? Either way,Genesio Boldrini showed remarkable dedication,not to mention extraordinary artistry,in his thirty-year mission to paint his house.The house in Via Genesio, Sarigo, on LakeMaggiore is typical of the local design:a ground-floor and a first-floor, the roomson the upper floor leading off an open corridor.Here we see the painted walls, as well as thedoor frames.Mike points out a detail in the courtyard below. Althoughstoutly built of stone, the house is showing its ageand is in need of repair.Part of the hand-painted frieze in one the upstairs reception roomsin the home of Genesio Boldrini in Sarigo, a hamlet ofCastelveccana, on Lake Maggiore, 6km from Laveno onthe road to Luino.The house has been left pretty much as it was when GenesioBoldrini died, aged 90 in 1994. This is the bedroom. Note thepatterned wall-paper. The artist had started to color some of thedesigns. Perhaps the exercise was not as creative as heexpected it to be, and he decided to spend time onmore original works.Every picture tells a story in the home of Genesio Boldrini,house-painter extraordinaire.Texturing effects reminiscent of the Divisionistmovement on the walls of the staircase. MaybeGenesio Boldrini (1904-1994) planned to addpaintings at a later date but did not have time.A visitor to Genesio Boldrini’s home admires thewall-paintings during the 2009 edition of Sotto gliArchi di Sarigo, a highlight of the month of August forthe last twenty years in this hamlet of Castelveccanaon Lake Maggiore, between Laveno and Luino.Harmonious mingling of intriguing scenes, perhaps derivedfrom the artist’s adventurous life, which included study at theBrera Academy of Fine Arts, a period as a prisoner of war,along with periods of employment in a foundry as well asin hotels and restaurants in various parts of Europe.The curved surfaces of the arches in the Boldrinifamily home in Via Genesio presented no problems toGenesio, whose ambition was to paint his house,from top to bottom.Visitors in the courtyard of Genesio Boldrini’shome in Sarigo, Castelveccana, on Lake Maggioreduring the twentieth annual edition ofSotto gli Archi di Sarigo, held 22-23 August 2009No repetition, despite the vast number of imagescreated over the thirty-year period that Genesio Boldrinidedicated to painting his house in Sarigo, a hamlet ofCastelveccana on Lake Maggiore.The woman seen in the image above is set against a backdropthat includes other figures. See also the stylized “grotesques”that Genesio Boldrini painted in the upper section. His influenceswere clearly many but the outcome was quite unique.More detail under the feet of the woman seen above.Genesio Boldrini died in 1994 at the age of 90. He hadspent the last 30 years of his life painting his house.This is the scene as one climbs the stairs to the first floorin Genesio Boldrini’s home in Sarigo, a hamlet ofCastelveccana, on Lake Maggiore. The religious imageis traditional, the two scenes below are anything but.The outcome, though, is perfectly harmonious.The corridor off which the upstairs room open, showing thewalls painted with infinite patience and skill by Genesio Boldrini,who spent two years at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan,but whose talent was surely innate, rather than taught.Having travelled far and wide, sometimes by choice, sometimesnot, Genesio Boldrini must have drawn from his memoriesfor the inspiration for the scenes he depicted on walls,internal and external, furniture, fixtures and fittings in hishome, which he spent 30 years painting.
Another detail of a painting executed by GenesioBoldrini in his home in Via Genesio in Sarigo,on Lake Maggiore. This hamlet lies 6km fromLaveno on the Luino road, and is part of thecomune of Castelveccana.
Yet more detail from one of Genesio Boldrini’swall paintings executed in his family home at Sarigo,Lake Maggiore. The medium used was tempera.The works have survived remarkably wellbut will need restoring in the near future.A city-scape, a detail from a larger work carried out byGenesio Boldrini during the 30 years he spent painting his house.These works can be seen during the annual Sotto gli Archi diSarigo Festival, the 2009 edition of which took placeduring the weekend 22-23 August.A closet provided Genesio Boldrini the chanceto portray four scenes. Behind it,we see the frieze painted on the walls of the largerof the two upstairs reception roomsGenesio Boldrini seems to have started from the ceiling andworked his way down in the smaller of the two reception roomson the first floor of his family home in Sarigo, Castelveccanaon Lake Maggiore.Here we see the smaller of the two upstairsreception rooms with furniture and with theextraordinary deep frieze and ceiling paintingsexecuted by Genesio Boldrini as part of hisproject to paint his family home, a projectthat took the last 30 years of his life.More of the extensive frieze and paintings onthe ceiling in the reception room on the upper floorof Genesio Boldrini’s home in Via Genesio, in Sarigo,a hamlet of Castelveccana on Lake Maggiore,some 6km from Laveno on the road to Luino.
The window-shutters were not excluded fromGenesio Boldrini’s house-painting project.He missed just one, in the living room downstairs.Looking down from the first-floor, we can admirethe works executed by Genesio Boldrini duringhis thirty-year stint as a house-painter. Quite why hewanted to undertake such a task will never be known.The outcome is so harmonious that no-one surely mindsthe fact that he did.The walls round the courtyard of the Boldrinifamily home in Sarigo, a hamlet — or frazione,as it is called in Italian — of Castelveccana onLake Maggiore. Castelveccanais a comune made up of several such frazioni,the others being Bissago, Calde’, Castello, Nasca, Orile,Pessina, Rasate, Ronchiano, Saltirana andSan Pietro. All have their attractions, but Sarigois surely worth a visit to see the work ofGenesio Boldrini, whose talents and ambition as ahouse-painter are surely unparalleled.The house that Genesio painted can be visited duringthe annual Sotto gli Archi di Sarigo Festival, whichtakes place in late-August. Various organizations areexamining the possibility of making the Boldrini family homemore accessible to the visiting public. We hope that they willbe successful.