Mimma Umeton, daughter of Luigi Bertani, a native of Lucca, and Elisa Umeton of Novi Ligure, is born in 1949 in Lucca, where she attends the local institute of art. In order to experience different artistic realities, she moves to Rome. At the Academy of Fine Arts she makes the acquaintance of a French sculpture who has adopted the City as his home, Pier Gabriele Vangelli, creator of the splendid bronze bust of Bartolomeo Pinelli, ‘Trastevere's painter' (found on the façade of the old City Hall, on the Viale Trastevere). True to her Tuscan origins, she shares the sculptor's fondness for visiting and sketching the taverns where artists meet. In the course of her apprenticeship, she learns to use oil pastels, a technique favoured by the Impressionists, and especially by the painter Edgar Degas, “the Magnificent”. Just a stone's throw from “Armando's al Pantheon”, an old-fashioned tavern facing onto the piazza, between the Church of St. Louis of the French (Caravaggio: St. Matthew and the Angel, the Martyrdom of St. Matthew and the Vocation of St. Matthew) and the venerable French bookstore, ‘there was a betting room'. Once the races were over, the horseplayers were fond of going, to the tavern to ‘drink down a half-litre of wine and a spritzer'. The artist's studio was nearby, and so she would drop by Armando's, accompanied by her diminutive dog Leonardo, to talk awhile and, fascinated by the atmosphere, draw the patrons in the midst of their judgments, disagreements, doubts and heated arguments, all of which gradually gave rise to a passion …“I feel my heart stolen away”. (Francesco Petrarca).
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