He was born in Ferrara on December 31, 1842, the eighth of thirteen children of Antonio and Benvenuta Caleffi.
In 1862 he enrolled at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, attended the well-known haunt of Florentine artists, Caffè Michelangelo, where he met Giovanni Fattori, other painters and art critics. Already manifested his interest, that will never leave, for the elegant salons of the aristocracy and upper classes.
He settled in London in 1870, invited by William Cornwallis – West, met in Florence, which provides him a study in the city center, high society, but at the end of the year Boldini is again in Florence.
On October of 1871 he moved to Paris to the Place Pigalle where he resides with his model Berthe and knows Edgar Degas, Alfred Sisley and Édouard Manet. He paints a series of genre pictures, environment century, then in vogue. He end the relationship with Berthe and begins with the Countess Gabrielle de Rasty; he is now established and sought after by the so-called high society.
In 1904 asks bride Alaide Banti , daughter of the painter Christian, but the marriage fades and Paris Boldini starts an affair with Madame de Joss de Couchy.
Boldini is unquestionably attracted by Femmes Fatales.
With the start of the war, in 1914 he moved to Nice with the new model Lina until 1918;
He was decorated by the French government of the Legion of Honor.
Now sick, weak vision, in 1926 knows the young journalist Emilia Cardona, who married on October 29, 1929.
He died in Paris on January 11, 1931.