Paolo Baratella was born in Bologna in 1935 from parents from Ferrara. He spent his childhood in Bologna in Via Lame. His father's tailor's store in the city center, in the service of the Royal Army, then the war. In 1940, the return of the family to Ferrara, which illuminates in its horizontal and foggy splendor, a world of mysterious presences. The child Baratella, under the American bombs dressed as the son of the she-wolf, wins the drawing course in first grade. At the age of six, he decides that he will be a painter, and he will be at least as great as Capuzzo from Ferrara, an eclectic painter on the Codigoro barge.
The tragedy of war, displacement, air-raid shelters, bombs, Bengal lights, holes dug in the ground, the puppet theater, the great passions passed on by that puppeteer named Forni and, after the war, the Doriglia/Palmi theater company, the shock of the great tragedies of man stylized in shantytowns of light and sharp shadows. And Gigetto the ice-cream vendor of Vicolo Mozzo Orcaballetta with those carts with dragons and swans so dear to Visconti in Ossessione, over there in Piazza Castello in Ferrara.
Reality in the eyes of a child, the masters of aesthetic education, as well as hunger and misery, the great demonstrations against the agrarians: "They killed Boari..." silence, a tragedy, the fascist father commented... Try to paint with Dante olive oil and found tubes, on the souls of the puddles of fabric of the tailor dad and tailor mom, that the world was made of tailors, and then, of saints and painters who went to churches for the soup and decorated the cinemino of the parish of the Franciscan Friars: but what Liceo Artistico Dosso Dossi! Cosmè Tura, Cossa, Ercole De Roberti, here they are in Schifanoia to amaze, with their first beard hairs and pimples and geometric reasoning with a virtual companion named De Chirico Giorgio, and then in 1954/55 in Procida, the island of the poet, to sing of love after having opened his eyes and soul on Nazi concentration camps, in a photographic exhibition at the Teatro Comunale; escaped from everything, desire for annihilation.
And down to paint in an attic at no. 8 Via Montebello talking the nights of Kant and Nietzsche, while mystical disturbances continued to threaten the integrity of the athlete cyclist, in solitary search of God.