View Full Version : Italian Born, Father of Thailand's Modern Arts, portrait # 10

10-26-2010, 12:06 PM
A great Italian born man is known as “The Father of Modern Arts of Thailand”.
Professor Silpa Phirasir’s Italian name was CORRADO FEROCI. He was born on 1882, at San Goivanni, Florence, Italy.

In 1923 he went to Thailand and was hired as a sculptor at the Department of Fine Arts, under a three- year contract with a salary of 800 baht a month. He was sponsored by the Best Bangkok Artist at that time, Prince Phraya Narisrara Nuwathiwong

In 1926, he served under an unlimited contract as a teacher of sculpture at the Art Department of the Royal Institute with a salary of 900 baht.

In 1928 he inspected the damage of Phra Buddha Trai Rattananayok, Wat Phanan Choeng, Ayuthaya.

In 1929 He modeled the statue of King Rama I the great.

He was the man who did not just want to work on the arts by himself, he wanted to teach the young locals the knowledge. Finally a school of fine arts was created by him, and then it became “The University of Silpakorn” in 1937, the only Fine Arts university of Thailand.

Professor Silpa Phirasir was best known for his generosity and dedication to his students. Spent all the time in school, paid for their supplies and took them on trips. So many students of his wrote about him saying just about the same things, such as “I couldn’t buy any supply, he bought them for me.”. “My arts were unusual at that time, the Ajarn Farang (the name they called him) told me that it was ok, he saved me!” “There were times that I was going to quit, he stayed with me.” “Believe us, there was no student in Silpakorn University who didn’t know the Ajarn Farang.”

There are many important works in Thailand such as Democracy Monument, the Monument of King Naresuan the Great later erected at Don Chedi, Supanburi in 1956, King Taksin Monument, Heroine Toa Surani Monument, etc.

He married a Thai woman who was 50 years younger in 1959. He died of intestinal cancer at the age 69 in May 1963 serving Thailand faithfully for 38 years and 4 months. One of his old students wrote that he was working all day and to the hospital for a check up in the afternoon and died there.

Nowadays, on the 15th of September , it is dedicated as “The Silpa Phirasri Day”. :)

He sure was a benevolent and generous man who gave everything he had to Thailand and the Thais are grateful.:)

It is done in oil, sticker for the stars. Any comments and advice are welcome.:)

10-26-2010, 12:14 PM
One of very important works. Democracy Monument.

10-26-2010, 12:38 PM
Fine painting, but, is my math correct? - At age 65, he married a 15 year old girl? :eek:

10-26-2010, 12:59 PM

The story of hers stated that she was 50 years younger when married. Here is his work of his wife.:)

10-26-2010, 01:33 PM
What an interesting and uplifting story, Jasmine...so good to hear about such people... not too many of them nowdays....

and your work, lovely, colors vibrant and sweet... one thing... those stars... look at them...what do you think?

And she, her wife, she was so pretty and sweet...very nice sculpture of her...

10-26-2010, 01:51 PM
Your portraits are coming along really well. His face is nice and detailed.

This is a very interesting man.

10-26-2010, 07:20 PM
You did very well on this portrait Jasmine.

I had not heard of him before.
what I found out:
Silpa Bhirasri was born in 1892. Malinee Kenny (Bhirasri) was born in 1930.
So he would have been 38 years her senior when they married. She would have been 29 years old at the time they eventually married. He died 4 years later. I think they met at a boarding house in the nineteen forties though at which time he was still officially married and she would have been a teenager and he in his mid fifties. She must have been very beautiful from the looks of her sculpted bust. She was half Thai and half caucasian as her Dad was caucasian and her mom was Thai. She lived the remainder of her life in Italy where she remarried. She died in 2008 at the age of 78.

10-26-2010, 08:45 PM
According to the numbers provided, he married his wife at 27.
Not that stunning for a good old time Italian Latin lover .....:D:D:D

Dear Jasmine, You correctly painted him in a typical sculture pose with an impressive insightful capability.
Each of Your artpiece carries a very interesting story with them.
I think You would be also a wonderful grandma for this reason too (unless You already are, even You're still a little young for this purpose in our age).
This is a moving and edifying tribute to one of the great men and women we too often feel are past times exemples. The truth is that we are living more and more individualistically and under a sort of fear regime where we try to protect our lives as if we had to live forever and we neglige to exploit it to pursue a really valuable wealth, which always comes from persons we have all around and meet. Too often we hardly realize how rich, enabling and self-rewarding is to work with passion and for free to follow our wishes, but meeting and fulfilling other people ones too, caring of the ones we have around, feeling the responsibilty that the gifts we received can be fully enjoyed if they become also an opportunity to give.

I found a portrait of him on our Italian wikipedia where he's celebrated too according to what Jasmine wrote. Here it is. I added also a sculpture in Porto Ferraio, Elba Island, Italy as a memorial of the WW I fallen.

10-26-2010, 11:57 PM
A lovely portrait dear Jasmine:):)

10-27-2010, 01:03 AM
Hi friends,

So glad that I have more information of the wife, thanks so much gzairborne. The pages I looked up were in Thai and only 2 bothered to mentioned her. I noticed her last name was written in Thai as Kenny so I figured she was Thai-Caucasian which there were many those days (these days too for that matter). There was no birth date of hers just that she was 50 years younger. Actually I felt better that he was not a "dirty old man".:D

At-TA - Sweet, you must come out and tell me about those stars, don't worry about offending me, I appreciate any suggestions. I chose them simply to say he is amongst the stars as the Thais would say.:D

Caesar - I am a grandmother of 3 granchildren and they live far away (which is better for me) for I don't like being around children more than an hour at a time. I accept what I am but I try to spend quality time when I see them.:eek:

Magen - Thanks for the kind words.

Barn. - I am so glad that we have more information.

Manafig, thanks to you too dear sweet lady.

Attached are 1. His statue in front of Silpakorn University (University of fine arts).
2. Him and his wife - the pictures were pasted together, not actually was taken together.

10-27-2010, 04:19 AM
Jasmine, what a wonderful story and portrait, thanks for sharing your knowledge on this great man in history;););)

10-27-2010, 04:49 AM
Wonderful portrait, Jasmine! And what an interesting thread!

10-28-2010, 03:56 AM
Thanks so much Pat and Scott.

Attached is one picture of him at work.:)

10-28-2010, 04:47 AM
Jasmine, an interesting story and a very nice portrait, I read somewhere on the web that his wife had been a student of his

10-28-2010, 05:01 AM
Dear Jasmine, I just discovered that other Italians were called to modernize Thai main town in that period, such as Galileo Chini and others working as architects, painters, decorators etc.
Considering that Italy was not such a powerful country in front of USA, the huge colonial empires of UK, France or even of Portugal and Germany, it's another demonstration of a unique patrimony of talents and skills that my ancestors continued to export and spread also all over the world as a universal currency and a contribution to the special brotherhood that civilization and art may create to join individuals and minds all over the world. :)

10-28-2010, 05:32 AM
Caesar, dear friend, you will love the tour of architects and sculptures in Bangkok. For me it is a shame that many educated people never asked who built this, who made that. Earlier around 50 years before Pro. Silpa's time, all buiders were mostly from Italy but none was like Prof. Silpa who fell in love in teaching the students. Some of his students are constantly talking about him for he was a very generous man.

I wrote to the web page that interviewed his wife about 3 years ago which said that she was 50 years younger. I said "Please get your information correct". I hope they do. The problem is a woman seems not to be that important in Thai society. Especially this professor, somehow his personal life was not important to a lot of people. I always feel that behind an important person, there is another person who supports hi,/her.

I thought of you a bit when I painted this professor and appreciate everything of all the Italian builders ever did in Thailand.:)

10-28-2010, 09:23 PM
Thank You, dear Jasmine, for Your weet thought!:)

I sincerly think that women are utmostly important not only to improve dramatically a nation wealth, but, even more crucially, for the quality of life and promoting and educating to good attitudes in a country.
We had a formidable number of illustrious ancestors in Italy all over our quite long and glorious history, either when we dominated and when we were dominated, and who are among the greatest guys ever worldwide in many disciplines and arts.
Italians, when Italy was not united anymore for centuries, triggered the start of Modern Age out of the Middle Age in any field and were in fact pioneers and initiators in many disciplines (art, science, mathematics, banking, phylosophy, carthography, navigation and discoveries ... and the leader and main reference for art and knowledge for many centuries in Europe and all over). You find our architect, artists, craftsmen etc. in St. Petersburgh or in Capitol Hill even by some Chinese emperor; all major national Musei in the world have an Italian Art section among its pearls.
We aren't dull nationalist at all though, but sure we do are proud to be Italians, certainly not for the folkloristic and often negative image they tend to give of us. We are the result of a formidable ancient melting pot of races and civilizations merging into an harmonic, unique patrimony of values and with the idea to find in anyone and all over the world what is universally appreciated and good for all people.
Well, most our great men had women provbably even greater behind, mostly mothers, other relatives, wifes or inspiring musae in the past centuries who were fundamental, also when the long male predominance (after the Wstern Roman Empire fell) got formally absolute.
I'm sure Thais, as an ancient civilized people and a modern world actor, are now realizing women full value too.:)

10-29-2010, 09:09 PM
According to her sister, Malinee was a great influence and inspiration on his life. I think they were together long before they got married from what I have read. So we cannot rule out the dirty old man idea entirely since he was in his fifties and she was hmm maybe 15 to 19 and the wife was tucked away in Italy. A matter of opinion I guess. :)
An amazing sculptor nonetheless.

10-30-2010, 04:08 AM
What an interesting discusion here.... so i would like to bring my two cents in it also...
Yes, it is true, italiens were and i hope still are very good achitects... there's not the beautiful cathedral or a church in my hometown of Brno, or Prague, that was not built by italiens.. one name especially comes to my mind...Peter Parler... he built st. James beuatiful church in Brno... that i always admired... and even the most famous tourist atraction in Prague was build by him... the Charles Bridge.
Yes, i always loved italiens... sometimes too noisy, but so warm and friendly ... this kind of people i have never met since i left Italy, living only for very short time there.
You are right Caesar, when you are proud of your ancestors...they made the whole Europe beautiful as she is today.... and it is because of Michelangelo i am here... where i am. But that is another story.:confused:
And yes, women are very important in men's succesful lives, they are giving them their wings to fly out of their moronlike cocoon and make them bearable and useful at least. :D:D;)

10-30-2010, 04:21 AM
I think I must be in the noisy cathegory in this thread, dear Anna!
Anyway here's a link with a bunch of Italian artists and their works in Prague too (XVI up to XVIII centuries) ... ;):p:) You know, my ancestors couldn't stay home whenever there were places where they were paid well and lived nice ladies (which practically seems to be anywhere they don't hide) ...:D

Dear Jasmine, I hope I'm not deconsecrating this hosting celebrative thread with my funny replay to AT-TA in here! :o:p
In case I apologize and remove ...:o

10-30-2010, 04:41 AM
Tha's fine with me Caesar, too quiet here anyway...;):D
You must have forgotten that link...i think...

10-30-2010, 08:03 AM
You're right! I apologize. Here it is:
It's in Italian, but I'm sure You may understand enough to spot places and buildings ...

10-30-2010, 09:42 AM
Caesar and AT-TA, I have no problem whatsoever what posted here.

My husband's one brother in law is American Italian, yes, on the loud side but quite pleasant. Each nation has its own characteristics and Italy is a very old country and a lot of things sould be the pride of nation.

For Professor Phirasir, it is in agreement that without him, the modern arts in Thailand could have not been there. The old Thai paintings are unique, but nnothing is wrong with learning the Western ones, IMO.:D

By the way, there is an Arts award called "Phirasir" too for the insipiring artists of all ages.

10-30-2010, 11:52 AM
Thank you, Caesar ,for very interesting link...no problem to read ....
They must have gotten filthy rich, those Italien architects,i wouldn't mind to live in that era at all...maybe i would meat one of them... who knows... things are hapenning;)

And to you too, Jasmin,thank you for bringing such an interesting subject to chat about...