Italian art: Across the lighthouse

Jan 23, 2015 1319

WTI Magazine #52    2015 January, 23
Author : Enrico De Iulis      Translation by:


Relentlessly continues the appreciation of the nineteenth century in Italy with more and more beautiful exhibitions, characterized and comprehensive, to unveil a century little regarded by traditional critics because it was too close when the art historiography took its first steps, and still too recent in the second half of the twentieth century, when the imperative was to innovate and learn.

The magnifying glass on the large and successful trend of the nineteenth-century landscape painting, known by all for the wonderful paintings of the Tuscan Macchiaioli and for the works of the painters from Abruzzo in the late nineteenth century, this time moves to Sicily.

"Across the lighthouse" is an interesting exhibition staged at Villa Zito in Palermo, that with one hundred works on display traces the evolution of the interest on time for this subject in the Region, which offers like no others a variety of suggestions related to the places that for thousand years have been housing monuments, culture and art of the highest quality and beauty.

Although a borderland of Europe, a continent that had landscape painting style as a hinge in the XIX century, Sicily develops a sense for the landscape that actually comes from afar, just by the Grand Tour that the northern Europeans intellectuals undertook since the seventeenth century. Goethe said: "Italy without Sicily leaves no image in the soul: here is the key to everything". But it is in the full century of romanticism that Sicily takes the mythical, religious and archaeological forms, fundamental basis of the sense of the XIX century sublime which then will fade in that tragic air that will be showed in literature by realism, which by no coincidence saw in Sicily its greatest exponents.

It will be thanks to Massimo d'Azeglio that the luck of the Sicilian landscape painting begins to flourish; the noble Piedmontese, then future Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy, was a gifted painter but also a great admirer of the landscape painting and of the Sicilian culture, and helped it to be artistically introduced in the rest of the nation.

The apex of the expressive quality and style of the Sicilian landscape painting comes with Francesco Lojacono who begins his career in 1864, taking its cue from the suggestions of the works by the Grand Tour, and then moves towards a more atmospheric taste thanks to the attendance of the School of Posillipo and then the Macchiaioli. This made him able to produce a lot and, often changing the style of the work, he was able to be very well appreciated in Italy and then in Europe, up to attend two editions of the newly Venice Biennale.

So we have concentrated all the stylistic trends of the nineteenth-century landscape painting, represented in this beautiful exhibition that studies and runs through Sicily from west to east, with views of the countryside, representations of the coastline, city bird's eye, melancholy landscapes up to the first photography age.

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