He showed attitude to the art very early, but, for the modest economic conditions of the family, he had very soon to find an occupation. He continued to apply himself to the drawing trying always to improve, until, at the return from the military service, he obtained a scholarship from the Municipality of Fidenza that allowed him to enroll to the Institute of Art of Parma, where had as teachers Paolo Baratta, Guido Marusich and Pietro Berzolla. He got his degree in 1934. He then dedicated more and more efforts to painting, perfecting himself and participating with success to several local and national art exhibitions.
Although he was recalled for the military service at the beginning of the world-wide conflict, he did not stop painting and in the 1942 he won the first prize in the artistic Competition announced by the command of the Arezzo infantry division.
During the war he was sent in the Balkan area (Greece and Albany).
After the 8th of September 1943 he was interned in a German concentration camp (Wieztendorf) where he remained until the end of the war.
Returned to Fidenza in 1945, he found the town heavily bombed.
Due to the lack of houses, he had to settle with his family in a ruined palace near the cathedral. The vision of that landscape of crumbled walls, gashes in the land tormented by the bombs and of girders emerging from the ruins, pushed him to resume the interrupted artistic activity in order to witness on his canvas this show of desolation and ruin.
As he regained the peace of the mind, shaken from the vicissitudes of the war and the hard tests of the life, he also got his artistic temper.
His art essentially turns to illustrate the beauties of the nature, and continued to provide consents, and a lot of his pictures are in public and private collections.
After the war, Ponzi taught in the medium schools of Salsomaggiore and Fidenza. Member of the diocese commission for the sacred art, he was awarded in 1983 of the title it of Knight of the Papal Order of Saint Gregorio Magno. Ponzi continued the artistic activity until a year before his death. He was buried in the cemetery of Fidenza.
Ponzi had a strong affection to his city, that was translated into thousands of pictures of the countryside, in affected remembrances of the sad war period, in dense pictures of tormented realism and in appreciated impressions on the cathedral.
His production numbers also images and panoramas painted around the
world: many works reproduce images and Balkan landscapes, others the colours of the Alps and the landscapes of the Dolomiti, where he returned every year.
Good landscape painter, he found in the nature much wealth and much abundance of lights and colors.
To the impressionism and the abstractionism, the late Ponzi turned more for one necessity of the spirit, in order to find a comfort to his mind still tormented from the memories of the time of war. Destruction, House in ruin, The died city, Fight of monsters, Naval battle, are pictures that reveal the anxiety of Ponzi for a future in which one new war would be bearer of greater moral and material destructions.
As image painter, Ponzi left numerous portraits. But he is mainly a landscape painter as asserted in an immense production, which, beyond the numerous subjects of his city and the landscapes of Dolomiti, numbers following works: Panorama of S. Andrea Bagni (that in 1953 won the first prize of the S. Andrea contest), Albanian Mountains, The lake of Ocrida in Jugoslavia, the castles of Vigoleno, Bargone and Castell'Arquato, Snow, Landscape of Saint Nicomede.
SOURCES AND BIBL.: D. Soresina, Enciclopedia diocesana fidentina, 1961, 358-361; Gazzetta di Parma 1 febbraio 1992, 23.
Text brought back from the DIZIONARIO BIOGRAFICO DEI PARMIGIANI di ROBERTO LASAGNI