Padova, Palazzo Zabarella, 19 gennaio – 26 maggio 2013
“Never before an exposition like this has been dedicated to De Nittis.” The quantity, but also the quality of the works already guaranteed for the exhibition make it the most important one ever seen about De Nittis.
The exhibition commissioned by Foundation Bano, and that will open 2013 exhibition season of Palazzo Zabarella, starts from what emerged during the grand celebration of the artist which recently the Petit Palais dedicated him, and goes further. Deepening, finally in a comprehensive way the figure of who, rightfully, is ranked among the most important European artists of the nineteenth century.
The recovery of formerly unknown works by the artist which are not available in the impressive show in Paris, some of which are unknown even to criticism, concur in adding additional research avenues and reflections around De Nittis.
The exposition promoted by Fondazione Bano is curated by Emanuela Angiuli and Fernando Mazzocca.
With his art and his Italian charm Giuseppe De Nittis fascinated Paris during the Universal Exhibition. In 1878, at the last one before his untimely death, he was present with 11 works, a sign of the enormous regard he enjoyed.
He compared at par with Degas and Monet and the Impressionists knowing how to take the best of their novelty, but interpreting them with taste and sensitivity which are completely original. The italien was loved by critics and his paintings sought after by big international collectors. Married to a brilliant French, Leontine, his Paris home was a meeting place for artists, intellectuals and high society. A successful artist in a city, Paris, who in recent decades was the true cultural and artistic capital of the world.
His success was a truly deserved and hard won one. Born in Barletta, soon orphan of both his parents, he was raised by his grandparents and his brothers. Its immediate vocation for art is opposed by his relatives who see it as a waste of time. Stubborn, still unable to go to school of painting in Naples, he moves then to Florence where he endorses the novelty of Macchiaioli. Then, at age of 21, he goes to Paris, where he “meets luck and love,” and here he remained, apart from some important staying in London of which he left us beautiful views, until his death at just 38 years old.
It ‘an Italian and at the same time an International artist. He hnows how to make novelties of the Macchiaioli of his own and then that of his Impressionists friends but also the influence of Japanese art, digesting the whole in the light of its particular sensitivity.
There is no subject that he does not deal with, the landscape, the interior scenes, portraits of men but also of beautiful women, this makes him close to Boldini, another Italian player of the Parisian scene.
For this exhibition the very foundational works of the artist coming from the art gallery “Giuseppe De Nittis” Barletta (which were left by the widow) were selected and obtained, as well as from the great French museums and from exclusive private collections. Many of these paintings, many of large format and rare, are now exposed for the first time.
They describe a world and a society in rapid change, picked with refined technique and psychological depth. They are sights, painted in plein air, as the Impressionists did, on their Senna but also on the slopes of Vesuvius and on the River Thames. Then the busy life of boulevards, entertainment and leisure in the great parks, vitalism that once flowed in horse racing and other worldliness places, then the lives of à la page livings, first and foremost that of Princess Mathilde.
The fragrance, the vitality, the intensity of the time is what De Nittis revives, admirably, on the walls of Palazzo Zabarella.
Thanks to a show that, more than any other previous one, makes justice to the greatness of the artist, a painter who enchants and seduces combining the new European ferments to the size of the Italian tradition. Who makes paintings capable of transmitting emotion, vitality, taste, both in portraits, interior scenes and urban or bucolic landscapes.