Umberto Buscioni was born in Bonelle (Pistoia) in 1931, and has lived in Serravalle Pistoiese since 1981.
Buscioni became a full-time painter at the beginning of the 1960s, a choice that became definitive during a sojourn in Morocco with his wife Bianca in 1963-64. His output in this phase was still influenced by the informale, but in his Moroccan paintings the figuration was already more openly allusive to a recognizable nature. His return from Morocco marked the beginning of a new phase in Buscioni's career. He reestablished contact with his friends Barni, Ruffi e Natalini, and in 1965 officially became part of what Cesare Vivaldi defined as the Pistoia School, which Natalini had left in the meantime to devote himself to architecture. The Pistoia School was one of Italy's most interesting responses to Pop Art. However, the objects represented by Buscioni were not taken from illustrated magazines or advertising posters. They were common objects to which the artist was intimately attached. These were transposed into a magical, suspended atmosphere in which a mental light was of central importance. Particular attention was given to fabrics, packaging and to the surface of things: the ties, shirts and jackets that feature in his works are stiffened with lines and folds that make them autonomous from the human figure. Painting has always occupied a privileged role in Buscioni's work, even in the years in which the international art scene was oriented more towards the conceptual and behavioural.
In the early 70s Buscioni began to look at objects from closer up, and with an analytic and controlled gesture of the hand he reproduced the details of those same folds and fabrics in an almost abstract synthesis. References to Mannerist painting pervade the whole of Buscioni's work, and he explicitly cites Pontormo and Salviati in particular. In the early 70s his fabrics and materials became richer and more decorative, and he began creating marble veining effects.
Over the year his interest in biblical and sacred themes grew, and in his series of Depositions he started investigating the altarpiece form. Between 1980 and 1998 he taught painting at the Academy of Carrara. The beginning of the same decade saw the appearance, in Buscioni's paintings, of almost mystical visions of falling saints and angels, the fabric of which flare out in flight and as they ascend, and at times even catch fire. His skies became suffused with a darkness and suggestive atmosphere quite unlike the crystallline light of the 60s. Even when some everyday objects from the private sphere did reappear, they were evoked with a more intimate and reflective gaze and tonality. The human figure once again occupied spaces and filled the fabrics; it too was charged with energy, lit by fire and tormented by the shadows.
Besides his unfailing devotion to painting, Buscioni has also produced a significant number of drawings, some of which are held at the Gabinetto di Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi. Equally interesting are his stained glass windows, including the Caduta di San Paolo (Fall of Saint Paul) for the Church of San Paolo in Pistoia in 1991, Notte e dì (Night and Day) for Brunero Biagioni's Tessilfibre at Poggio a Caiano (Prato) in 1993, his Angelo con rosa (Angel with Rose) for the Confraternita della Misericordia dell'Antella (Florence) in 2000 and Il giorno e la sera (the Day and the Evening à Rebours) for the Atelier Areablu in Pistoia in 2002.