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Authors’ Profiles and English Abstracts - Volume N. 1

CRISTINA CASERO is contemporary art historian and professor of the History of Art and the History of Photography at the University of Parma. His studies were initially focused on the experiences of World War II Italian figurative culture and nineteenth-century Italian sculpture, with particular interest in the production of visual links with the political, social and civil rights of the ‘Italy of the time (Enrico Butti. Un giovane scultore nella Milano di fine Ottocento, Franco Angeli, Milano 2013 and La “scultura sociale”, tra il vero e l’ideale. Realismo e impegno nella plastica lombarda di fine Ottocento, Scripta Edizioni, Verona 2013). On this line are the most recent surveys, over the last forty years of the twentieth century, especially dedicated to the photographic image, in its various meanings. In 2016 she published Paola Mattioli. Lo sguardo critico di una fotografa (PostmediaBooks, Milano).

Pompeo Marchesi’s works in the Como Cathedral through the documents of the Historical Archives of the Diocese of Como

The article reconstructs, on the basis of the documents of the Historical Archives of the Diocese of Como, the events related to the works made in the Cattedrale di Como by the sculptor Pompeo Marchesi, active protagonist of the Italian cultural scene during the years of the Restaurazione. The stages of the commission of the first group of sculptures, the statues of the twelve Apostoli, Redentore and Vergine Maria, made between 1815 and 1816, are illustrated. Then light is shed on the most important commission, the sculpture of San Giuseppe col Bambino and the bas-relief of the Transito di San Giuseppe, both exhibited at Brera in 1832, the realization of which is contemporary to the studies for the first version of the Monumento ad Alessandro Volta, the most famous testimony of the Marchesi sculpture in Como.

ADRIANA CONCONI, art historian, has diligently investigated and currently specializes in nineteenth-century and twentieth-century Italian sculpture in Lombardy. She is the author of the monograph volume “Giovanni Battista Lombardi” (2006), recipient of the G.P. OrselloCittà di S. Marinella Culture Award under the High Patronage of the President of the Republic, which she officially received at the Capitoline Hill in Rome. Co-author with Piero and Giovanni Lechi of the volume “La Grande Collezione” (2010), she dedicated a chapter on the sculptural section of the collection. She collaborated with the Certosa di Bologna writing essays and texts for its exhibitions. She has been in charge of the didactic texts for the catalog of the exhibition “Montezuma, Fontana, Mirko – mosaic sculpture from its origins to the present”, curated by Alfonso Panzetta and held at the MIUR – Art Museum of the city of Ravenna (2017). She has been the Curator of several exhibitions and awards, as well as author of many catalogs. Currently, she is working on the monograph volume dedicated to the sculptor Giovanni Emanueli.

Giovanni Emanueli (1817-1894). Notes on a minor artist of nineteenth-century Lombard sculpture

Giovanni Emanueli was born in Brescia on March 9, 1817. As early as 1830 he began to exhibit works at the city University and it is precisely through the aid of this University and of the Brescia City Hall that he could move to Milan to study at Brera. In 1837 he sculpted his first independent work. His career continues both in the field of portraiture, both in works considered of the “graceful” genre, and in the monumental ones, thanks to the interest of the architect Vantini, known for the design of the Brescia cemetery. In 1846 he was commissioned the statue of Hope to be placed in the Cathedral of Brescia. The following year he sculpted the bust of Radetzky, a work with which he lost favor with Vantini because he was considered loyal to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As commissions begin to increase, especially in Milan, where Emanueli moves permanently and opens his own studio. Among the many works we must mention the bust of Napoleon of 1858, as well as the funeral monument of the Da Costa Family of 1870. The fame of the sculptor is also linked to statues of “graceful genre” that are brought on display in the major National and International Exhibitions including The Bather Surprised of 1873, the Pifferaro, his masterpiece of 1875. Emanueli died in Milan, on November 30, 1894.

MARIADELAIDE CUOZZO teaches “Contemporary Art History” at University of Basilicata, in both Departments of Human Sciences, located in Potenza, and European and Mediterranean Cultures, located in Matera. In both Departments, she has also several institutional responsabilities. She is a member of the Scientific Board of the PhD in “Storia, culture e saperi dell’Europa Mediterranea dall’antichità all’età contemporanea” at University of Basilicata. Her research activity has up to now concerned the arts between XIX and XX centuries and contemporary arts, with a specific interest in southern Italy, and the relationships between art, cultural industry and communication, with particular attention to the various sectors of applied graphics in Italy during nineteenth and twentieth century. She has published some monographs, some exhibition catalogs edited by her and numerous contributions for collective volumes, catalogs, scientific reviews and encyclopedic works. She is a member of the Scientific Board of the Project “Fronte della cultura”, by Matera-Basilicata 2019 Foundation. She has been a member of some PRIN and CNR Research projects. She has curated some exhibitions and participated in several scientific boards of other exhibitions.

Michelangelo Pistoletto: a ‘paradisiac’ artist. A new sculpture and an unpublished interview

The essay I propose to «Studi di Scultura» is structured into two sections, linked together. The first section focuses on a sculpture by Michelangelo Pistoletto, named Third Paradise, which the artist has recently created for Basilicata University’s new Campus in Matera and which I have curated. Pistoletto’s work of art is described in its formal, technical and semantic values, in relationship with the author’s research up to now. The second section consists in an interview to Michelangelo Pistoletto dated on 25 october 2019, day on which the vernissage of his new sculpture took place in Matera University Campus. The object of the interview is both the artist’s overall thought, followed in its unfolding through the main stages of his career, and the meanings he specifically attributed to the symbol-sign of the Third Paradise, which from the beginning of the new millennium he proposed, in different ways, in several international contexts.

FAUSTO MINERVINI is Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna, PhD in History of Art at the University of Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) and at the University of Naples “Federico II”. His researches, papers and contributions are focused on the exchanges and communications between the Italian artistic environment – with a specific attention to the Neapolitan area – and the International contexts of the 1800s and early 1900s.

From the transition study to the creative act: François-Léon Sicard and photography 

The relationship between sculpture and photography has always been intense and fructuous thanks to the many similarities shared by the nature of the two media. The period between the late Nineteenth and the early Twentieth Century, more than any other, revealed the existence of a common territory both to the sculptor and to the photographer. The experience of the French sculptor François-Léon Sicard (1862-1934) is a perfect example of how the medium of photography integrated itself into the creative processes of the sculptors, flanking his studies and his preparatory sketches harmoniously. The analysis of some photographic documents and manuscripts conserved in the archives of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tours, in the Archives départementales de la Vendée in La Roche-sur-Yon and in those of the Académie de France in Rome, allows one to retrace Sicard’s artistic parable and to observe how photography took a double role for sculpture, being both a crucial technical aid during the long and complex artistry of the sculptor and a visual proof of the different transitional phases leading to the final realization of his works. The monuments made for the French government, in particular, highlight an academic sculptor gifted with a polyhedric and creative spirit, which should be worthy of further interest by the contemporary artistic historiography.

MICHELLI CRISTINE SCAPOL MONTEIRO is a postdoctoral researcher at Museu Paulista da Universidade de São Paulo (Museu do Ipiranga) with a Research Internship in Italy at the Università degli Studi Roma Tre (2019-2020), financed by FAPESP. She is graduated in History at the University of São Paulo (FFLCH-USP, 2009) and took her Master in History of Architecture at University of São Paulo (FAU-USP, 2012). She did her PhD at the same institution (FAU-USP, 2017) with a Research Internship in Italy at the Università degli Studi Roma Tre (2014-2015). The object of her research is the representation and construction of symbolic imageries with emphasis in history painting and public monuments. She studies the exchanges between Brazil and Italy in the sculpture and history painting of the nineteenth century.

American Affairs: Ettore Ximenes’ Monument to Brazil’s Independence

Many sculptural monuments erected in America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century were made by Italian artists. Therefore, to understand the Italian art of Ottocento it is essential to extend the analysis outside national borders and to observe the monuments erected in American countries. The purpose of this article is to reflect on the artistic connections between Italy and America by analyzing the Monument to the independence of Brazil, erected in São Paulo, between 1920 and 1923. This huge monument was a result of an international competition won by Ettore Ximenes and Manfredo Manfredi. The article examines the contest, highlighting the participation of the Italian sculptors and the effort of Ximenes to be the winner and also to be able to execute this enormous work of art. It is intended to demonstrate how the American monuments were instruments for consecration of Italian artists, even for those who already had a prominent position in the artistic scene.

STEFANO MOSCATELLI born in 1997 and attends the Master Degree program in “Visual Arts” at the University of Bologna. He previously graduated in DAMS with a dissertation work about Giuliano Briganti and he currently working on a Master thesis dealing with “Vincenzo Gemito’s experience in France”. He collaborated with the magazine «collegArti» of the Bologna University.

Investigation around the death of Mathilde Duffaud, Vincenzo Gemito’s first wife

The following article aims to provide, through the discovery of the correct dating of the death date of Mathilde Duffaud, a new analysis of the biography of Vincenzo Gemito concerning the last months of 1879 and the early 1880s. Thanks to a letter discovered in the digital archives of the Institut National d’ Histoire de l’Art (INHA) library in Paris, it was found possible to contest the original date of Mathilde’s death, previously recorded to the month of April in 1881. With this letter it is possible to prove that this date is wrong of a year and death actually took place in February 1880. This latest discovery brings forth, together with a careful analysis of all the collected letters, some proposals and theories regarding the dating of some works, particularly the drawings, to be dated not in 1881, as currently dated, but to be anticipated to 1880. The following article also suggests, thanks to the documentation attached to it, a small temporal shift of a few sculptures that Vincenzo Gemito sculpted in his imminent return to Naples from Paris.

LUCA PALERMO is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the Dipartimento di Lettere e Beni Culturali dell’Università degli Studi della Campania “L. Vanvitelli”. His main research interests cover the methodology of Art History and History of Critics with a particular focus on contemporary Art History. Since 2010 he has carried out research on the artistic dynamics that take place outside the traditional institutional context. In particular, he has explored the artistic experimentation of the 1960s and 1970s as well as more recent artis tic experiences within the sphere of Public Art. He has published abundantly on the topic and he takes part regularly at national and international conferences.

Per il sepolcro di una giovane madre: Raffaele Uccella’s Pensionato Artistico and a rediscovered sculpture

In 1910, the Sammaritan sculptor Raffaele Uccella (1884-1920), was the winner of the National Artistic Pensioner promoted by the Ministry of Public Education and by the Academy of Fine Arts of Rome. After passing both tests of the competition with the works Per il sepolcro di una giovane madre (first test) and Vita dei campi (second test), the Sammaritan sculptor was awarded, for the next four years, a grant of five hundred lira a month; a sum that allowed him to revive his economic situation and offered him a fairly comfortable standard of living. The sources provide very little information about the sculptures: Vita dei Campi is now lost, while Per il sepolcro di una giovane madre, initially located by Paolo Ricci at the Stiglieno Monumental Cemetery in Genoa, never arrived in this city. The sculpture, considered dispersed by Ricci as well as by following studies, was found by the writer, after various researches and data crossings, in Rome at the Caserma dei Carabinieri of Piazza del Popolo. This article discuss the historical events connected to this work while also adding an extra piece in the difficult reconstruction of Raffaele Uccella’s artistic and biographic path.

ALFONSO PANZETTA is Professor of History of Contemporary Art at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna, where he also coordinates the Art Restoration School. He is a specialist in Italian sculpture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the author of Dizionario degli scultori italiani dell’Ottocento e del primo Novecento. Da Canova ad Arturo Martini. He has curated several exhibitions and their scientific catalogues, as well as numerous monographic studies and general catalogues. In parallel to his essayist career, his didactic activities focus on courses about the History of Sculpture, from the Ancient times to the contemporary. He has been the museum director of the Montevarchi Civic Museum “Il Cassero per la Scultura” for a decade. In 2004, he won a Prize for Culture of the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers thanks to his activities in the field of essay writing.

A 16th-century terracotta coming from the 19th century. Giovanni Bandini’s pseudo “Magdalene” from the Opera del Duomo Museum in Florence’s Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and its model by Odoardo Fantacchiotti

The terracotta from the Opera del Duomo Museum in Florence’s Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore has been recently recognised as a work of the 19th century and compared with its newly discovered plaster model, which dates back to the middle of the same century and is signed by Odoardo Fantacchiotti (1811-1877). Prior to this recognition, the pseudo “Magdalene” of unknown origin was considered by the most authoritative critics as a 16th-century Tuscan work by Giovanni Bandini, and so it has been for over a century. After recalling the substantial body of critical and exhibiting fortunes of the work, this paper also refutes the traditional iconographic reading of it as a bust of Mary Magdalene by observing the evident inconsistencies of such attribution. The direct comparison between the Florentine terracotta and the privately-owned plaster further allows an accurate reflection on the executive techniques of both works, as well as on the existing relationship of dependency between the two.

Findings: Avanti! by Alessandro Massarenti

The artwork entitled Avanti! it’s a largeformat patinated plaster head by Alessandro Massarenti, one of the Emilian sculptors aligned with the ideal of realism in the second half of the nineteenth century. Characterized by a strong realistic model and pictorial taste, this piece of art is part of a wider production of the artist linked to the patriotic theme. The sculpture represents, in fact, a Garibaldian who incites the battle. This is an important finding that adds a new element to Massarenti’s knowledge and research in the Italian sculpture’s field of the nineteenth century.

CHIARA PAZZAGLIA is an M.A. student both at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa and at the University of Pisa (degree in History and forms of the visual and performing arts and new media). Her main fields of interest include monumental sculpture and painting in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, with a particular focus on patronage, art criticism and visual culture during the fascist period.

Marino and Monumentality: the Five Reliefs for the Palazzo dell’Arengario in Milan

In 1939-1940, Marino Marini was commissioned to create five reliefs for the decoration of one of the most ambitious architectural projects of Fascism in the late Thirties, the Palazzo dell’Arengario in Milan (1938-1956 ca.). Firstly, this paper scrutinizes the sculptor’s renunciation, in 1942. Marino, indeed, decided not to accomplish this task, due to the war and the excessive restraints imposed by the Arengario’s architects. Thus, the only remaining evidence of his involvement can be found in a group of four preliminary plaster reliefs. Against this background, the paper then proceeds to formulate hypotheses as to the fate of the firth lost plaster relief belonging to the original group of his Glorificazioni milanesi dell’evo moderno (Milan’s glorifications of modern century). Even if never translated into marble, the reliefs were originally designed as the crucial part of the building’s propagandistic program. The final part of the research aims at providing meaningful insight as to the complex allegorical iconography of the five reliefs. Relying on an analysis of original sketches, contemporary written sources and visual comparisons with other artists, the paper offers an interpretation of the reliefs’ intended themes.

MARIANTONIETTA PICONE PETRUSA was full professor of History of Contemporary Art at the Federico II University of Naples. In her research she has been involved in the history of photography, posters, first and second avant-garde, history of Italian art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with particular attention to the artistic situations of southern Italy. She has curated various exhibitions, founded and directed the magazine «ON.OttoNovecento» (1996-2000), has collaborated with the magazines «Op.cit.» directed by Renato De Fusco, «Confronto» directed by Ferdinando Bologna, «Dialoghi» directed by Paola Santucci. She currently works on «Napoli Nobilissima» and on «Studi di scultura». She has created entries for various encyclopedias and recently coordinated the European art sector of the first half of the 20th century for the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Art of Treccani directed by Vincenzo Trione.

The mirage of lightness. The sculptures of Hidetoshi Nagasawa

The permanence in Italy since 1967, after his legendary journey of a eighteen months, led Nagasawa to seek a mediation between western and eastern culture. Nagasawa arrived with the baggage of Zen Buddhism as a life practice and his previous knowledge of the actions of the Gutai group he had witnessed in the late fifties. He knew thoroughly many materials as marble, steel, wood, copper, brass, gold, paper, and he has developed his own poetics focused on some themes: trip as a metaphor for the path of knowledge (Boat, 1983-88, brass rods and paper); the balance between the various materials, always on the verge of being broken, but then almost miraculously reconfirmed (Tangle of quanta, 2014, iron and marble); the sense of gravity challenged giving the illusion of a kind of ‘floating’ (Well in the sky, 1999-2014, iron and marble); the vacuum refers to the Ma, understood as an interval between structural elements (Matteo Ricci, 2010, marble and steel; but also Well in the sky). A common element to all these installations exhibited in Naples at the Palazzo Reale (10 December 2019 10 March 2020) is lightness, achieved through the ‘experience of emptiness’ which also concerns the artist’s creative approach.

CLAUDIO PIZZORUSSO full professor of Contemporary Art at the University “Federico II” in Naples. He taught at Urbino, Florence and Siena Universities. Fields of research: Painting and Sculpture Italy (XVI-XVII centuries), Painting and Sculpture France and Italy (XIX-XX centuries). Curator and Executive or Advisory Committee member of many exhibitions. In 2011 he won the Salimbeni Prize for Art Criticism. He is member of the INASA (National Institute of Archeology and History of Art) and Director of the academic journal «Rivista di letterature moderne e comparate».

Baudelaire and the boring Sculpture

This essay analyses the chapters that Charles Baudelaire dedicated to sculpture in his reviews of the 1846 and 1859 Salons. In addition to the well-known comments (Marcel Raymond, Wolfgang Drost, Cassandra Hamrick and others), this contribution presents the hypothesis of a possible “positive” interpretation of the famous statement «la sculpture est ennuyeuse», by relating the Baudelairian notions of «sculpture» and «ennui», as they can be read in Les Fleurs du mal.

PETRA RICHTER Dr. phil. studied history of arts, philosophy and German literature in Kiel, Bochum and Rome. Dissertation 1998: Mit, neben, gegen. Die Schüler von Joseph Beuys, published Düsseldorf 2000. From 1992-2012 she worked as program-manager in the publishing house Richter-Verlag, Düsseldorf. Lives in Düsseldorf. Publications about art history of the 60s and 70s with main focus on Joseph Beuys as teacher and the reception of his art term, and Beuys’ relation to Italy: Joseph Beuys. Ein Erdbeben in den Köpfen der Menschen. Neapel Rom 1971-1985 (An Earthquake in People’s Mind), Düsseldorf 2017.

Joseph Beuys. An Earthquake in People’s Mind

Over a period of decades, Italy was a source and thematic focus for the artistic activities of the sculptor and Action artist Joseph Beuys (1921–1986). Southern Italy, the Mezzogiorno, in particular was a crucial source of inspiration for the artist. He was fascinated by the tension he observed between the archaic structures that remained perceptible there and the country’s social contradiction. His critical engagement was oriented in a perspectival way toward the development of humane solutions to these conflicts. Here we (invece di Petra Richter) describes how Beuys sought to implement these intentions in his activities in Naples 1981. The focus is on the sculpture Terremoto and the installation Terremoto in Palazzo which Beuys created in Rome and Naples 1981 in reaction to an earthquake that had struck the Mezzogiorno region the previous year. This paper discusses these works as Beuys’s attempt to form a meaningful and positive response to this tragic event, one that could both counter the earthquake’s effects and address the Mezzogiorno’s existing social, financial and political problems. In his view the necessary prerequisite for the creation of a humane society was a “revolutionary earthquake in people’s minds”, which would release innovative thinking and creative energies. For, it would only be through a seismic shift in attitudes that a democratic society based on autonomy and freedom would ever come into being.

ISABELLA VALENTE is a professor of Contemporary Art History in the Humanities’ Department of the University Federico II of Naples. Specialized in the nineteenth and twentieth century’s Neapolitan art also in relationship with the national and international panorama, she curated several exhibitions and related catalogs, including Il Bello o il Vero. La scultura napoletana del secondo ottocento e del primo Novecento (Napoli 2014-15) and, more recently, La Scuola di Posillipo. La luce di Napoli che conquistò il mondo (Napoli 2019). She has also published many articles in various scientific journals, monograph and studies of artists and artistic streams in autonomous and collective books. Moreover, she is a member of scientific committees of museums and cultural institutions. She is also the author of some departmental research projects, in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) and with the High Technology District for Cultural Heritage (DATABENC), aimed at the conservation, enhancement and digital dissemination of cultural heritage (see Castel Nuovo, Naples). Last but not least, she has edited the catalogue of the Neapolitan Circolo Artistico Politecnico’s collection (published by Guida). To her multiple scientific and educational interests, she adds, in conclusion, the history of photography that she teaches at the University she belongs to.

Michelangelo’s sleep. Neapolitan sculpture in the critical debate during the Universal Exposition of Paris in 1878

In this article we report the results of the critical debate, during the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1878, in which the Neapolitan sculpture was involved. As the different forms of realism, at that time the prevailing attitudes of the School of Naples, ahead of the rest of Italy and Europe, were judjed both by Italian critics and especially by French critics, whose gaze is given priority in this essay. Accepted or not accepted, Neapolitans’ realism related to sculpture surely caused discussion, and sometimes silence. The major artists of the moment such as, Achille d’Orsi, Vincenzo Gemito, Giambattista Amendola, Francesco Jerace, Costantino Barbella and others, together with their master Stanislao Lista, were noticed by critics both positively and negatively, therefore opening in Italy, the doors to that kind of realism defined as ‘brutal’ and more often ‘social’, but surely extreme, which only later would have been understood by the rest of the Italian artists and critics. This contribution also offers many new features, especially from the works’ point of view presented by the sculptures and for possible comparisons with the coeval European production.