"A Very Bad Student"

“Proud despite my misery, I revolted: I took [Professor Gastaldi] by his jacket and pushed him against the wall . . . ”
“Note Well: A Very Bad Student” –This notation, handwritten by Professor Gastaldi, appears next to Tommaso Juglaris’s name in the registrar’s records at the Accademia Albertina.
“Returning to my miserable studio I found a letter from Lanslebourg, Savoia [from a] painter I had known painting the ceiling of a salon in Via Cernaja . . . He invited me to leave for Lanslebourg immediately where he had a church to decorate. I had my passport made . . . and departed . . . I worked for nearly three months…was paid handsome, treated like a lord. I was given a lovely declaration of their full satisfaction, signed even by the mayor. I returned to Turin with about 1000 lire in my pocket. I could breathe. I then believed myself to be an artist too.”
Accademia Albertina, where Juglaris studied
Self-portrait by Juglaris's teacher, Andrea Gastaldi
Sappho, a painting by Andrea Gastaldi

The personal words of King Vittorio Emanuele II on the scaffolding in the royal palace, encouraging further studies, were not lost on the young Juglaris. With the vision of formal training at an art academy still his ideal, Juglaris made one last attempt to complete art studies leading to a diploma or degree. He returned to night classes at the Accademia Albertina. Yet, despite daytime employment, he had little money to spare. His need for thrift forced him to paint on used canvases. When his esteemed professor, the aristocratic Andrea Gastaldi, loudly insulted him for this, Juglaris exploded and had to be restrained. Juglaris left the academy, never to return. He was 21 years old.

Determined and enthusiastic about his work, no matter how hard, Juglaris continued to make his way as a decorative artist and muralist without any diploma in hand. He took special pride in sets completed for the Royal Theater of Turin and murals executed for a parish church in Lanslebourg, France, an alpine town across the border from Italy. At the same time, Juglaris set his sights higher and dreamt of a career in fine art.