Cesare Benaglia was born in 1932 in Valbrembo, a small village on the outskirts of Bergamo. He grew up in a modest family: his mother Lucia was first a worker in a large factory in Bergamo and then a nurse at the Gavazzeni clinics in Bergamo; his father Alfredo was a butcher and then a street trader, in addition to a period of work in Germany during the Second World War. Gabriele, the paternal grandfather, was able to study thanks to his enrolment in the Carabinieri and runs a shop selling scraps of fabric: he has a penchant for portraits and, in his spare time spent in his shop, he continuously produces fantasy portraits. Mosè Pedrali, his maternal grandfather, is well known in the area as the owner of a renowned carpentry shop that has won several prizes in competitions and exhibitions, including national ones. It was his grandfather Mosè who took care of the professional training of the still small Cesare who, as soon as he finished the first cycle of primary schools, was introduced to the activities of the carpentry workshop in such a careful and disciplined way that, even as a teenager, he was able to independently satisfy important customer orders by managing a complete team of workers. This was the period of his first experiments in the construction of furniture with more modern and rounded lines, a premonition of what a few years later would be the boom of Italian furniture with its prestigious design. When his grandfather died, Cesare took over the carpentry business and continued his experiments in contemporary furniture in his spare time. The period of work was so intense that he suffered a physical collapse. The doctors ordered him to take it easy, suggesting that he take time off to walk in the mountains or go on bicycle excursions in contact with nature, read and do other leisure activities. So, almost by chance, Cesare approached the world of colours. He spends long winter Sundays in his studio transforming postcards into landscape images. After reading a Hoepli manual for the amateur painter, he learnt that it was better to go outdoors to learn how to paint. He began to go out on his bicycle with palettes, canvases and colour boxes. He also enrolled in evening classes in drawing the human figure at the prestigious Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, where he met artists who were already established at the time, such as Mario Donizzetti and Trento Longaretti. His meeting with the painter Angelo Capelli marked another important stage in his artistic training: he began to participate with him and other young painters in countless extemporary painting competitions, first in Lombardy and then in other Italian regions, winning numerous prizes, some of which featured prestigious names from the artistic scene of the time on the jury. 1968 was a key year in Cesare Benaglia's artistic career: unexpectedly and stormily, he was awarded first prize at the Giorgio Oprandi national painting competition in Bergamo. The trail of controversy continued for days in the local press, as several artists did not accept the awarding of the prize to an amateur painter without any solid academic training or artistic experience. That year, a dilemma marked a crossroads in the artist's life: should he believe in his own abilities and devote himself completely to art, or should he continue with his commercial activity, leaving painting as a hobby in his spare time? Benaglia chose to devote himself to art full-time, as a professional. It was not an easy choice, for both economic and family reasons. This was followed by a very tormented period in which he withdrew into himself, gripped by a deep depression: he spent weeks and months locked up at home, suffering from anxiety and panic attacks which he managed to overcome, thanks also to the affectionate support of relatives and friends. This also marked the end of the first period of carefree and impressionistic painting that had marked his approach to art, giving rise to more conscious studio painting, dedicated to the great themes of nature and ecological disaster. With it came the definitive separation from the furniture trade in partnership with his brother: Cesare Benaglia was now a free artist who could only rely on his artistic abilities. These were very difficult times from an economic point of view, also in relation to his new way of expressing himself: the beautiful landscape, the beautiful snowfalls full of magical atmospheres that give pleasure to a large audience, give way to a painting that is almost abstract, suffered, that speaks of the destruction being done to nature while carrying out a colouristic research made of often rough tones, deep blues and incandescent reds. Benaglia believed in it and with character and tenacity continued along that path: he took part in contemporary painting competitions and established himself with important personal exhibitions organised in the most prestigious galleries not only in Bergamo but also in Milan, Brescia and Verona. The death of his mother Lucia marked another fundamental step in Cesare Benaglia's artistic career: he inherited part of the premises of his grandfather Mosè's old carpentry shop. Here, stimulated by his sculptor friend Alberto Meli, with whom he shared an exhibition itinerary, and by his childhood memories, he began to devote time to wood sculpture, returning, albeit in a new guise, to the old steps he had taken as a carpenter. Many sculptures, including large ones, thus take shape. His thinking is in constant contact with the themes of nature: his experience of working with wood leads him to the search for natural materials and dead trees that come back to life in his hands. Around him many friends and young people interested in art become involved and passionate: friends who come to his aid for the realisation of larger projects, simple people whom Cesare always manages to enthuse about his work and his labours. In this moment of maximum vitality he founded, together with other artists, the "Gruppo Artistico Valbrembo 77", a cultural association based in the premises of his home, which offered a large number of cultural evenings, documentary screenings, figure drawing and extemporary painting courses, open-air exhibitions and concerts. Dozens of young people are trained in this artistic forge: some of them will become professional artists after completing their training at art academies. These were prolific years for the artistic production of Cesare Benaglia who, followed by art critics and gallery owners of a certain importance, established himself well beyond the confines of the province with important personal exhibitions in Italy and abroad. His plants, recovered from the land to which he is so attached, become, together with his paintings, a distinctive sign and other materials are added to them that come back to life in his hands: leaves, pine needles, moth-eaten wood, soil, stones. But another event interrupted this magical moment: he lost his old and beloved atelier due to a real estate operation imposed by the municipal administration and was deprived of the space to which he was so affectionately attached. Forced to look for a valid alternative, he found it in a shed a few kilometres from home, made available by a friend. In this large new environment, which becomes his new refuge, he develops a new artistic research linked to wood and its characteristics, to which he gives the name 'Tarsimia': sawdust, sand, soil and seeds, treated with personal techniques, are the basis of many other natural elements such as stones, shells, roots or waste from artistic foundries or objects of interest to him, all 'waste' materials skilfully recovered that seem to be able to tell their own story. This artistic project finds its greatest expression in a large work exhibited in a stand made available in his honour by the Bergamo Arte Fiera organisation for the 2015 edition. In the meantime, his atelier, which is always open, has become a place visited by art lovers, but not only: the possibility of seeing an artist's studio and touching the tools with which he manages to bring works of nature back to life intrigues schoolchildren and many visitors. Another important event is the exhibition at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Bergamo, which is interested in his works not only for their artistic value but also for their scientific value: in his works, Benaglia shows the work of xylophagous insects, work that is sometimes skilfully directed by the artist: the indelible traces of their passage on the wood become a strong point of his artistic expression. After each guided tour, many schoolchildren have the opportunity to visit an atelier set up for them to experience the artist's work. His work is tireless, and once again 'chance' changes the game for our artist. Grandfather Mosè's old workshop, although downsized and renovated, was put up for sale by the real estate consortium that had bought it. For Cesare, now well advanced in years, it was an opportunity: he could continue his artistic activity close to home. And so he invested his last resources in buying it and equipping it as an exhibition and teaching space. Of course it no longer has any of the features of his grandfather's dear old workshop, but if he closes his eyes he can hear the noise of the machines and the acrid smell of the sawdust. Thus began, with his return home, a new phase in his tireless artistic activity, which continues to this day with great energy and dedication.