Pasquarosa Marcelli Bertoletti Anticoli, 1896 – Camaiore, 1973
first exposure to the art scene was from the 'other side' of the canvas. At 16, she posed for prominent artists who came to her hometown of Anticoli. This enchanting hill town, which now boasts a noteworthy museum of 20th-century art, offered inspiration from its views of the Aniene Valley, and was dubbed 'the city of Madonnas', because it was also known for its lovely ladies. Many of the models became wives of the artists or became artists themselves. Pasquarosa’s physical beauty made her a success as a model, but it was her originality that made her a triumph as a painter.
Illiterate, and from an peasant family, she came to Rome in 1910 with no money, but despite these overwhelming limitations, she became one of the most educated artists of her age, because of personal relationships, and not from any formal or academic study. This occurred because her husband, painter Nino Bertoletti, taught her to read, and introduced her to Italy's leading cultural icons of the day. She became an exponent of the Scuola Romana (1925-1931), which promoted a return to order to reassert the classical ideals of Italy’s figurative arts.
This was also a time when Mussolini espoused that women had no great power to produce worthy arts. The irony is that during his regime, Rome became a powerhouse for female creativity. No other city in Italy had a larger circle of women artists than Rome! Despite her connections with the capital, Pasquarosa nurtured a creative relationship with Florence as well. In 1966, she was one of the many female artists who donated her art to 'replace' the 14,000 artworks lost in the Florence flood.