Medardo Rosso was born in Turin in June 1858, but soon he moved to Milan. He debuted as a sculptor in 1981 for the exhibition “Indisposizione di Belle Arti” in Milan and in 1882 he enrolled in the courses of Naked and Plastic at the Brera Academy in Milan, from which he is, however, expelled the following year for intolerance to the discipline of the Institute.
Since his first sculptures Rosso shows his lacking inclination to academicism choosing as subject themes of contemporary life, outcasts and ordinary people that he describes in a very realistic style. Also in 1982, he participates at the Exhibition of Fine Arts of Brera and the following year at the International Exhibition of Fine Arts in Rome. In these years he is very close to Scapigliatura Lombarda and began to use photography as a medium to capture the impression. Between 1885 and 1886 he made his first visit to Paris where he exhibited at the Salon de Peinture, Sculpture et Gravure du Groupe des Artistes Independants and the Annuel Salon de la Société des Artistes Français. In 1887 he took part at the National Artistic Exposition of Venice. In 1889 he returned to Paris where he will remain for many years, until 1914. In 1894 he meets Auguste Rodin and starts to frequent his studio.
In 1896 he went to London where he exhibited together with the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1900 he presents some works at the Universal Exhibition in Paris where he met Etha Fles that will be for him an important presence, both artistic and emotional. In 1901 the Albertinum Museum in Dresden buys his work Enfant malade. He exhibited in Berlin, Leipzig and at the Viennese Secession in 1902-1903. In 1904 at the Salon d’Automne he exhibits in the same hall where are The Bathers by Cézanne; in the same year he is naturalized French. In 1905 he held a retrospective at the Kunsthaus Artaria of Vienna. In 1906 has a personal room at the New Gallery in London. In 1908 he participates with Rodin, Claudel, Bourdelle, Maillol and the French Impressionists in the first edition of the Salon de la Toison d’or of Moscow. In 1910 he was present at the collective exhibition at the Lyceum of Florence in which there are works of Degas, Monet, Cézanne and numerous other French artists. In 1911 he participates at the Universal Exhibition in Rome and Turin. In 1912 Boccioni personally sends him the Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture. At the outbreak of World War I he returned to Italy in 1914. He was invited to the IX International Art Exhibition of Venice where he presented 20 works. After the end of the war his stays in Paris will be more rare. He exhibits his works in Milan in 1923 and for the first exhibition of Novecento Italiano in 1926. He died in Milan in 1928.