1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bossi, Giuseppe

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BOSSI, GIUSEPPE (1777–1816), Italian painter and writer on art, was born at the village of Busto Arsizio, near Milan. He was educated at the college of Monza; and his early fondness for drawing was fostered by the director of the college, who supplied him with prints after the works of Agostino Caracci for copies. He then studied at the academy of Brera at Milan, and about 1795 went to Rome, where he formed an intimate friendship with Canova. On his return to Milan he became assistant secretary, and then secretary, of the Academy of Fine Arts. He rendered important service in the organization of this new institution. In 1804, in conjunction with Oriani, he drew up the rules of the three academies of art of Bologna, Venice and Milan, and soon after was rewarded with the decoration of the Iron Crown. On the occasion of the visit of Napoleon I. to Milan in 1805, Bossi exhibited a drawing of the Last Judgment of Michelangelo, and pictures representing Aurora and Night, Oedipus and Creon, and the Italian Parnassus. By command of Prince Eugene, viceroy of Italy, Bossi undertook to make a copy of the Last Supper of Leonardo, then almost obliterated, for the purpose of getting it rendered in mosaic. The drawing was made from the remains of the original with the aid of copies and the best prints. The mosaic was executed by Raffaelli, and was placed in the imperial gallery of Vienna. Bossi made another copy in oil, which was placed in the museum of Brera. This museum owed to him a fine collection of casts of great works of sculpture acquired at Paris, Rome and Florence. Bossi devoted a large part of his life to the study of the works of Leonardo; and his last work was a series of drawings in monochrome representing incidents in the life of that great master. He left unfinished a large cartoon in black chalk of the Dead Christ in the bosom of Mary, with John and the Magdalene. In 1810 he published a special work in large quarto, entitled Del Cenacolo di Leonardo da Vinci, which had the merit of greatly interesting Goethe. His other works are Delle Opinioni di Leonardo intorno alla simmetria de' corpi umani (1811), and Del Tipo dell' arte della pittura (1816). Bossi died at Milan on the 15th of December 1816. A monument by Canova was erected to his memory in the Ambrosian library, and a bust was placed in the Brera.