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Books
“Divisionism, the light of what is modern”
200 works on show in Rovigo
The subject of the paintings are nature, the individual and how we live, agricultural and urban realities, scientific progress and one’s inner self.
The canvases express the altered vision of reality that develops between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, paving the way for Futurism
by Daniela Bobisut Sigovini
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Giacomo Balla. Portrait in the open air. 1902

      Visitors are greeted by multiple stimuli at the exhibition called “Il Divisionismo, la luce del moderno” (Rovigo, Palazzo Roverella, 25th Feb.-24th June 2012), and they start from the altered vision of reality, between symbolism and avant-garde, from experimentation, from the use of light and often the technique of filamentous paints.

      Previati and Segantini at the Milan Triennial in 1891 had opened a debate that sparked off, in Italy, almost three decades of a flux of interpretations and artistic inventions regarding topical themes like the altered relationship between agricultural and urban realities, the warning signals of social conflicts, the development of the modern world and scientific progress and the analysis of one’s inner self.

      Between the declaration in 1896 that Pelizza made, about Divisionism as a “technical means”, and that of Boccioni, in 1911, who saw it as “an attitude of the spirit, the style of an epoch”, the curators have made a roundup of about 200 works, split up into ten sections, that explore the themes of nature, the individual and how we live.

      The polyhedric personality of De Grubecy de Dragon, a great talent scout and gallery-owner, is investigated in his role as landscape artist, amidst suggestions of music and science fiction. The many facets of the vision of nature offer an extraordinary Monte Cervino by Cesare Maggi, flanked by a country-scene, Dopo il temporale (After the storm), by Carlo Prada, and with Nomellini they investigate the microcosm or the immensity of Mare di Genova (The sea of Genoa). Rivers, coasts, waterfalls, fields in Liguria, Tuscany, Romagna and Veneto are reviewed in luminous chromatic splendour, while Previati and Pelizza give their priority to an intimist and anti-naturalist approach. Longoni provides L’affamato (The hungry man), from 1894, a canvas somewhere between an urban scene and a social protest, Morbelli his cycle on the Pio Albergo Trivulzio in Milan, Baradino L’annegato (The drowned man) from 1911, all placing the accent on social themes with an original plan and visual impact.

      The beginnings vibrating with light of artists then avant-gardes are underlined by masterpieces like L’uscita da teatro (The exit from the theater) by Carrà, Lampi notturni (Night lightning) over the sleeping city by Russolo, interfacing a gallery of portraits, from the admirable Valerio Brocchi by Boccioni to the lady in Ritratto all’aperto (Portrait in the open air) by Balla, icon of the exhibition, who develop new psychological and technical experimentations. Pelizza in the triptych L’amore nella vita (Love in life), Chini of Il voto di coloro che non ebbero tomba (The vote of those who never had a Grave) from 1920, Nomellini with Plenilunio (Full moon) and Corsari del mare (Corsairs at sea), Benvenuti with his La nascita di Venere, (The birth of Venus), Cominetti with Lussuria (Lechery) all deal with the themes of myth, of the visionary, of the heroic as moments suspended or dense with impetuosity, in which time and space are annulled in an internalized vision in which color takes on life thanks to the light and is a prelude to the taste of the Viennese Secession, opening up to the European literary poetics, well expressed in the Sala del Sogno at the Venice Biennial in 1907 in an expressive plurality of languages that pave the way for the moto di luce (movement of light) of the Futurists.

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