Pietro Annigoni (Milan, 7 June 1910 - Florence, 28 October 1988) was an Italian painter, dubbed by the press of his time "The painter of the queens".
He attended the "Giuseppe Parini" gymnasium in Milan and spent many hours at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana to try to learn the technique of Leonardo da Vinci's drawings.
In 1925 the Annigoni moved to Florence for reasons of work of Pietro's father, an engineer: he obtained the classical maturity at the Istituto degli Scolopi and his parents gave him permission to attend the Academy of Fine Arts with the professors Carena and Graziosi , perfecting his studies, then, with long trips, even abroad.
His first personal exhibition was held in 1932, at Palazzo Perroni. From the beginning it is characterized by a style faithful to reality.
During the years of the second world war, the Annigoni family with Pietro was welcomed in the house of Alido Michelozzi in Serravalle Pistoiese.
In 1947 with Gregorio Sciltian and his brothers Xavier and Antonio Bueno, he is one of the signers of the manifesto of modern painters of reality. Using his mastery of the use of ancient pictorial techniques (famous for his fat tempera) used in the Renaissance, he built his artistic career in stark contrast to the pictorial styles typical of Modernism and Postmodernism in vogue during the years of his activity. Stay true to Realism until death.
Such a predilection for the truth, places it quickly in the field of portraiture, where clearly the client wants to be able to recognize. The fame grows in the noble environments of Italy. In 1949 he went to the United Kingdom, where he made some portraits of the British royals and other famous personalities, until, in 1955, he received the coveted commission to portray Queen Elizabeth II. (National Portrait Gallery, London). Accept, after agreeing, for the execution, a series of poses in the studio. He will receive great notoriety. The portrait will also appear on the stamps and on a Mauritian banknote. Equally relevant, but perhaps less well known, those performed for Pope John XXIII, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Philip of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret, Queen Mother, Alcide De Gasperi, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi with Empress Farah (on the occasion of the coronation in 1967), Margaret II of Denmark and many others.
Although he is remembered as "The painter of the queens", he had a great fondness in portraying even "less well-off and famous people", in which he was adept at faithfully describing both the outward and the inner aspect.
From 1966 to 1988, his activity is characterized by a succession of prestigious exhibitions, including many at the Royal Academy in London, while in Italy we remember, for the notable success, those of Milan (Galleria Cortina, 1968, and Galleria Levi , 1971). Between one exhibition and another, he does not fail to devote himself to one of his great passions: the art of fresco.