copertina sds5 per sito
copertina 4)
Layout 1

Authors’ Profiles and English Abstracts - Volume N. 3

GIOVANNI MENDOLA is an Italian art historian and teacher. He taught Art History in Secondary Schools and at the SISSIS (Sicilian Inter-University School of Specialization for Secondary School Teachers) in Palermo.

He is the author of numerous articles and essays on Sicilian Art History (painting, sculture, architecture, decorative arts) between the Sixteenth and Nineteenth Century, published in specialized magazines, exhibition catalogues, conference proceedings, dictionaries, encyclopedias. He was curator of the art exhibitions (and related catalogues) Gloria Patri and Pompa magna (Palermo 2000 and 2008). His research approach is always based on unpublished data and his research interests include the painters Zoppo di Gangi, Pietro Novelli and the sculptor Giacomo Serpotta. He has also contributed to clarify Anton van Dyck’s stay in Palermo. He is the author of the monograph Caravaggio’s Nativity (Palermo 2012) and of a forthcoming essay on the painter Mario di Laurito and on the sculptor Gabriele di Battista.

Domenico Gagini in Palermo. Documents

As a result of a broader research on sculpture in Sicily in the last decades of the Fifteenth century, the article is based on the discovery of about forty unpublished documents concerning the biography and the artistic activity of Domenico Gagini (Bissone 1425 ca – Palermo 1492) during his long stay in Palermo, starting from 1460. The documents attributed to Gagini the Annunciation sculptural group (1472) at the Cathedral of Cefalù. The dowry contract of Gagini’s second wife Caterina de Mule, relative of the painter Gaspare da Pesaro, reveals an indirect link with Luciano Laurana. The will clarifies the relationship between Gagini and his sons, and the estate inventory informs us of the unstable financial situation of Gagini’s last years and bring us into his studio, between his tools of the trade, his unfinished works and his few books (Dante, Petrarch, the Apocalypse, and perhaps the Odyssey).

STEFANO L’OCCASO is an art historian; he was born in Rome (1975) and graduated from Rome Sapienza University (1997), he then achieved the Specialization from Florence State University (2000), and his PhD from the Milan State University (2008). After having worked from 1994 to 2000 as a restorer (also in the Domus Aurea and in the Vatican Museums), he entered the Culture Heritage Ministry as art historian (since 2000), and worked mainly in the Mantua Soprintendency. He was also Director of the Lombardy State Museums (2015-2018), he is since November 2020 Director of the Ducal Palace in Mantua. He teaches at the Politecnico di Milano and is ordinary member of the Accademia Nazionale Virgiliana.

Sculpture in Mantua in the 18th century and the new façade of the Cathedral

The present paper discusses an 18th century stone and marble sculpture in Mantua. Two main figures will be analysed: Giuseppe Tivani, from Mantua, and Giovanni Angelo Finali, from Valsolda, who was also very active in Verona. Both are claimed to be authors of the statues on the façade of Mantua’s Cathedral. A large number of unpublished documents allow the author to clarify the biographies and activities of the two artists (as well as of some others), and, above all, the unpublished 1755 contract for the new Cathedral façade, together with a few more documents concerning the same enterprise, make us aware that this major sculptural work was wholly entrusted to Finali. In conclusion, a large number of Mantuan sculptures can be credited to him, on stylistic grounds, and Finali was apparently the most capable sculptor active in the city, while Tivani’s role is largely reduced.

STEFANO CRACOLICI  is Professor of Italian Art and Literature at Durham University. He received an MD degree from the Albert-Ludwig Universität in Freiburg, a laurea in Literature from the University of Trento, a PhD in Italian Studies from the University of Toronto. He has worked at Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania, and published on Alberti, courtly poetry, the medical and humanistic discourse on love, the Arcadian Academy, and on nineteenth-century art in Europe and Latin America. He has been Scholar in Residence at the Getty Research Institute, Visiting professor at the University of São Paulo, UK-Mexico Visiting chair at the UNAM, Francesco De Dombrowski Visiting Professor at the Villa I Tatti, and Director of the Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art at Durham University.

Nazarenism in sculpture: Karl Hoffmann in England

The article explores the legacy of Nazarene aesthetic principles in the sculptures of Karl Hoffmann (1816-1872), Friedrich Overbeck’s son-in-law. Hoffmann’s reputation of translating the master’s ideas into marble is here verified through an in-depth analysis of a series of statues produced for Ushaw College, in England’s County Durham. Overbeck’s direct intervention in the conception of Hoffmann’s works – destined not only to England but also France and Russia – emerges quite vividly from the hitherto untapped letters preserved in the College’s archives. Read through the filter of Overbeck’s writings on Christian art, Hoffmann’s overlooked devotional statues reveal themselves as an eloquent illustration of the great master’s theory of Christian sculpture, in a period in which he adhered to the Purist movement and became one of the most influential supporters of Pope Pius IX. In Hoffmann’s sculptures, the Nazarene creed is stylised and diluted into what William Holman Hunt called ‘overbeckism’, an Overbeck effect that failed in fact to transform itself into a proper autonomous movement.

CLARA GELAO (born in Bari in 1952) studied at the Universities of Bari and Naples. Her entire professional career at the Pinacoteca Corrado Giaquinto of Bari began as a scholarship holder in Museology in 1978, then she was appointed Inspector of Art History and, finally, Director since 1991 until September 2018, overseeing its growth and development. For many years she has acted as member of the executive committee of the Associazione Nazionale Musei di Enti Locali e Istituzionali (National Association of Local and Institutional Authorities Museums). During her long career as a scholar, she has focused her attention mainly on the history of art in the South of Italy, from the 15th to the 18th century, in particular Renaissance architecture, Venetian painting in Apulia and sculpture. To the latter, she has devoted numerous monographs, essays and contributions to conferences and exhibition catalogues, shedding light upon regional Renaissance sculpture and, more recently, on southern sculptors of the 19th and early 20th centuries who have received little if any critical attention.

Tommaso Caivano and a sculptural group by Giuseppe Lazzerini in Picerno

This essay highlights a remarkable work by the Carrara-born sculptor Giuseppe Lazzerini, a funerary monument in Picerno (Basilicata) dating back to 1876, located in an important family chapel surrounded by centuries-old trees in a great park. The construction of the chapel and the monument was ordered by Tommaso Caivano, a lawyer, publicist and historian, remembered above all for having published, in 1882-86, the first History of the War of the Pacific (Historia de la guerra de América entre Chile, Perú y Bolivia). Caivano’s eventful life is reconstructed, which led him to leave his native Picerno for Lima, in Peru, where he met and married Adalgisa Marcone in 1872. Together with his very young wife and their little daughter Bianca Timotea they sailed to Italy in 1875; it was a fatal decision for Tommaso’s beloved Adalgisa, who died before the end of the year. His taste for the ‘academic’ style led Caivano to appoint Lazzerini for his wife’s shrine. The result was a masterpiece of painstaking attention in the portrayal not only of Adalgisa but of their entire family; this was uncommon for Lazzerini and it was a work of true virtue. Furthermore, this essay brings to light a hitherto unknown bust of Luisa Caivano, Tommaso’s mother, by Giuseppe Lazzerini.

GEMMA ZAGANELLI was born in Assisi in 1987. She has obtained degrees in History of Modern Art with a thesis on Luca Signorelli and in History of Contemporary Art with a thesis on Antoine Bourdelle. She has subsequently specialized in French Sculpture of the early 1900’s. During her international Ph.D. from the University of Perugia co-supervised with Université Paris 8, she developed her thesis on Duchamp-Villon and Cubism. Among her publications are: Temps, espace et sculpture. Henri Bergson et Antoine Bourdelle autour de la Tête d’Apollon, «Sculptures», n. 4, 2017, pp. 86-91; L’architettura e il concetto di spazio-tempo: il caso della Maison cubiste di Raymond Duchamp-Villon, «Annali di Architettura», n. 30, 2019, pp. 107-120; Hildebrand critico della scultura cubista. Il caso degli Amanti di Raymond Duchamp-Villon, «Predella», nn. 43-44, 2019, pp. 3-25 and, curated with P. Martore, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Muovere l’immoto. Scritti di uno scultore cubista, Castelvecchi, Roma 2019.

Form and thought in sculpture. Duchamp-Villon’s Baudelaire and the axis with Brancusi

Around 1911, Raymond Duchamp-Villon regularly opened the doors of his Puteaux studio to artists, intellectuals and poets, most of whom were successfully experimenting with the great cubist revolution. As a group they would discuss art, literature, philosophy, non-Euclidean geometry and, inspired by the discoveries of the early Italian Renaissance, contributed to the formulation of a mathematical esthetic based on the concept of the fourth dimension. The young generation of sculptors which Raymond is a part of examines the esthetic solutions investigated by their colleagues who are painters, be it the polyhedric de-composition of the painted subject, the embracing of African art or the most rational interpretation of Cezanne’s early cubism. The circle of Puteaux appears to have played a fundamental role in Raymond’s artistic career and in the genesis of the Baudelaire, an important sculpture in its stylistic exploration and theoretical considerations which tend towards an ever-greater simplification of volumes and an articulation of the closed masses. The dimensions of both what is real and what is ideal become fused into a single plastic mass, reflecting an artistic ideal that is fundamentally concrete and modern, seemingly finding a representative in the streamlined and perfect contours of Constantin Brancusi.

WILLIAM CORTÈS CASARRUBIOS is a PhD student in Art History at the University of Udine.  He graduated in 2018 at the same University in History of Art – with a thesis on Renzo Piano as an architect of monographic museums. From 2013 to 2018, he attended the Scuola Superiore in Udine, institute of excellence where he obtained in 2019 the degree with 110 cum laude. He also acquired a Master in Art Museum and Gallery Studies at the University of Leicester. The final dissertation was an exhibition proposal on European post-war sculpture, which received the prestigious Henry Moore Institute Dissertation Prize 2019 for the best thesis on sculpture written in the United Kingdom. He spent periods of research at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, at the Menil Collection in Houston and at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. In Florence, he participated at the ArCo International Conference 2020 to discuss his research on the Emilio and Annabianca Vedova Foundation in Venice.

John Hoskin (1921-1990), between geometry of fear and geometric abstraction

John Hoskin (1920-1990) is an interesting artistic figure, as he was one of those English sculptors who achieved international fame in the post-war period, thanks to the promoting action of Herbert Read. Hoskin’s teacher was Lynn Chadwick, so he took his first steps into that unincorporated “movement” called Geometry of Fear. However, unlike others, he is an artist whose career has been poorly studied, even in the UK. The sculptor was undoubtedly part of that small circle of British artists promoted at home and abroad, as evidenced by his participation in the Roman exhibition of 1959, Moments of Vision, and his presence at the Tate Gallery exhibition in 1964, 1954-1964. Painting and Sculpture of a Decade. On a stylistic level, it is possible to notice his passage from industrial welding and wrought iron sculpture to a geometric abstraction, characteristic of his best-known public work, placed in Darlington since 1970. His participation in 1965 public sculpture international exhibition Forma Viva, in Ravne (Slovenia), put him in contact with the Italian Dino Basaldella, with whom he established a fruitful friendship.

ALESSANDRO OLDANI was registrar and Assistant Conservator for the Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Milano from 2011 to 2020. During this period, he focused his research on the museum’s historical building and its collections, publishing La villa Belgiojoso-Bonaparte. Una residenza neoclassica tra Ancien Regime e età napoleonica (2013, with Giovanna D’Amia) and Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milano. Le collezioni (2017, with Paola Zatti). He also published essays and short contributions in exhibition catalogues about 19th and 20th century sculptors (Adolfo Wildt, Medardo Rosso) and painters (Angelo Morbelli). From 2020 he is the Curator of Ufficio Arte negli spazi pubblici, Comune di Milano, and his research field is currently focused on contemporary sculpture and public.

Aptico, 1976. An exhibition for sculpture

This paper focuses on an exhibition held at Museo del Paesaggio in Verbania in 1976. Aptico, curated by critic and art-historian Jole De Sanna in collaboration with artists Luciano Fabro, Hidetoshi Nagasawa and Antonio Trotta, gathered thirty-one works by ten artists from the 19th century to the present, asking the question “What purpose can a study and exhibition on the practice of sculpture serve today?”. This rediscovery of the plastic art is closely connected to the going beyond of the avantgarde in a particular moment – the 70s – when many italian artists were attempting a new approach to tradition, reacting to the dematerialization and the interdisciplinarity that marked Arte Povera and Conceptual art and which had characterized their own work during the previous decade. The paper reconstructs the exhibition through unpublished photographs and documents, and discusses its catalogue, conceived as a collage of dialogues between the artists and various influences and inspirations, both from the past and the contemporary practice of plastic art. Many themes are touched upon: the changing “sculpture exhibition” format in Italy, the collaboration between artists as a model of shared practice, the role of the critic as the artists’ “fellow partner”.

ADA PATRIZIA FIORILLO is an associate professor of the History of Contemporary and Phenomenology of contemporary art at the University of Ferrara. Historian and art critic, she has also been enrolling as publicist in “Ordine della Stampa” since 1990. She directs the “Annali on-line” (Letters section) of the same university, for which she is responsible for the Art section. Among her research interests the study of the events and figures of Italian and European art of the twenthieth and twenty-first century, with particular attention to the aspects and dynamics of the contemporary sculpture. At the beginning of the 1990s Fiorillo was also involved in the study of the landscape of 19th and 20th century with particular interest in the study of known artists of Southern Italy, especially those coming from Amalfi Coast and Metellian Valley, which trace the course of the event of “grand tour”. She has been curator of many exhibitions. Among recent monographs and chapters of books are reported: La Scultura dopo il Duemila. Idolatria e iconoclastia, FRaC, Museo Fondo Regionale d’Arte Contemporanea, Baronissi (SA), 2015; Arte contemporanea a Ferrara. Dalle neoavanguardie agli esiti del postmoderno, Mimesis, Milano-Udine 2017; Rappel! Arte tra le due guerre, Mimesis, Milano-Udine 2019.

An unusual presence in contemporary Italian sculpture: Elio Marchegiani’s experiments between art and science

Starting from the problematic dialogue of art with science that actively affected much of modern thought and that became established during the 20th century, the contribution examines the artistic experience of Elio Marchegiani. The main focus is on his plastic research, which began in the early 1960s, when his initial gaze as a painter turned to new linguistic and communicative processes. From the objects that start to populate its surfaces driven by a sense of freedom that belongs to the Dada spirit, his will be a leaning more and more towards a three-dimensionality, urged by the knowledge of the mechanisms that animate things. It is an investigation for which science and technology become part of his imaginary, with the ability to grasp its human implications. Through playfulness, irony, irreverence, accompanied by a strong sense of experimentation, the artist rests his gaze on reality, highlighting its contradictions, doubts, its new mythologies, addressed through a more flexible look at the World, that art translates as thought through images.

GIANLUCA AMATO was born in Messina. He completed his university studies in Messina, Siena and Naples. He is Senior Research of Modern Art History at the University of Siena (Department of History and Cultural Heritage). His research and publications concern the Italian late Middle Ages and Renaissance, with particular attention to sculpture and painting between Florence and Siena.

Giuliano da Sangallo and the Montisi Crucifix: reflections on the restoration

This article presents the restoration of the wooden Crucifix by Giuliano da Sangallo discovered in 2010 in the Church of Santissima Annunziata in Montisi (Siena). It is a relevant small-format sculpture carved in lime-wood for private devotional use. The restoration carried out by Silvia Bensi has recovered the original polychromy of the work, offering the opportunity to appreciate the high quality of the carving in the general context of the production of Sangallo’s crucifixes. The data acquired during the intervention, and the stylistic coordinates already emerged in the studies, allow us to confirm the authorship of the sculpture and its dating within the last decade of the 15th century.

GIUSEPPE SAVA, art historian, has been contract professor of Christian Art and Iconoghraphy, of Art Criticism and of Modern History of Art (FBK; Departement of Humanities University of Trento). In 2017 obtained the national scientific qualification to function as associate professor in Italian Universities. His research covers some of the themes of the painting and sculpture in Veneto, Lombardy and Trentino Alto-Adige from 16th to 18th-century. He has published numerous contributions on italian specialized magazine: «Arte Veneta», «Nuovi Studi», «Paragone Arte», «Römische Historische Mitteilungen», «Studi Trentini Arte», «Verona Illustrata».

Antonio Gelpi. A classicistic sculptor in the Lombardy of the 18th-century

This essay inquires for the first time the artistic activity of Antonio Gelpi (1740 ca – 1804), a sculptor native to Como. His profile appears in the Vite of Francesco Maria Tassi (1793), nevertheless is completely forgotten by the studies of the sculpture of the XVIII th century in Lombardy. The sculptor is a pupil of Antonio Pirovano in Bergamo, but very early transposes the classical and refined language of Antonio Calegari (Brescia, 1698-1777). This relationship motivates the exchange of attribution between the two artists and focuses the evolution in the last stage, now full of neoclassical suggestions.

MARIA TAMAJO CONTARINI currently serves as the Curator of the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Collection of the Capodimonte Museum. She has published several works on Flemish painting, on the history of restoration, and on wood carving in sixteenth-century Campania. She recently curated the exhibition “Depositi di Capodimonte. Storie ancora da scrivere [Capodimonte from the Vault. Stories yet to be written] (Museo di Capodimonte, December 21, 2018 – September 30, 2019). She collaborated on the catalog for the exhibition “Vincenzo Gemito. Dalla scultura al disegno [Vincenzo Gemito. From sculpture to drawing], Electa, Milan 2020 with the contribution, “Vincenzo Gemito e le acquisizioni di sculture nella politica della Real Casa dal 1870 al 1912 [Vincenzo Gemito and the policy of the acquisition of sculpture in the Royal House from 1870 to 1912.” She also curated the exhibition: “L’Opera si racconta: Francesco Jacovacci e la pittura di storia [The work tells us: Francesco Jacovacci and the Painting of History” (Museo di Capodimonte, December 4, 2020 – March 21, 2021).

Ettore Ximenes. The Neapolitan experience.

The article focuses on the years of training of Ettore Ximenes. A sculptor born in Palermo in 1855, Ximenes achieved fame in his native Italy with monumental and commemorative works (Turin, Parma, Milan, Pesaro), which led to his success with large sculptural groups made for commissions abroad: Monument to Dante and Giovanni da Verrazzano in New York, Monument to Tsar Alexander II in Kiev, Monument to General Belgrano in Buenos Aires, and the Independence Monument in Sao Paulo with Manfredo Manfredi, all made between 1911 and 1926.I analyze Ximenes’s stay in Naples (1872-1874) where he moved to study with Domenico Morelli. From the outset of his time in Naples, Ximenes was chiefly oriented towards sculpting, friendship, and collaboration with local artists known to Neapolitan Accademia delle belle arti [Academy of Fine Arts], including rather intense relationships with Vincenzo Gemito and Antonio Mancini. This approach sheds greater light on Ximenes’s formation, which in turn helps us to better understand his subsequent activity as an illustrator and caricaturist in Florence (1874-1880), his period in Urbino (1884-1883) as professor of sculpture at the Raphael Institute, and his final move to Rome.

MARIA SIMONETTA DE MARINIS (Naples, 28th October 1958) graduated in Modern Literature with Historical – Artistic address and obtained a diploma from the two-year Specialization School in History of Medieval and Modern Art of the “Federico II” University of Naples. Professor of Art History in Classical High School, she also taught in SICSI at the University of Campania ‘Luigi Vanvitelli. She is part of the scientific committee of the ‘Masaniello’ Southern Culture Award. She has numerous publications to her credit, including the monograph Il tempo, la vita e l’arte di Achille d’Orsi (Japadre, 1984); the monograph Gemito, with a preface by Ferdinando Bologna (Japadre, 1993); Ai confini d’Europa. Scultori meridionali a Napoli tra Ottocento e Novecento (Istituto di studi filosofici di Napoli 2009); Vita e opere di Vincenzo Gemito, in Gemito (Electa, 2009); Oltre la materia in Bachelardiana (Type&Editing, 2012); Dittico d’arte-Achille d’Orsi e Vincenzo Gemito (ESI, 2016); Gemito. Una rivoluzione in scultura, in Da De Nittis a Gemito. I napoletani a Parigi negli anni dell’Impressionismo (Sagep, 2017); Vincenzo Gemito, l’antico ritrovato, in Gemito, Mancini e il loro ambiente. Opere giovanili (Gomp, 2017); Le Metamorfosi dell’anima. Amedeo Modigliani e Pablo Picasso da Montmartre a Napoli (Sagep, 2018); Gemito e la terracotta, in Gemito dalla scultura al disegno (Electa, 2020).

“Transformed Realism” by Alberto Neiviller (1899-1941)

The text rebuilds, thanks to inedited materials, the artistic production of a Neapolitan sculptor little known so far. Student of Vincenzo Gemito, Alberto Neiviller approached bronze sculpture since he was a boy, participating in the foundry activity opened by his father Francesco in the area Arenaccia in Naples. He worked for eight years in Gemito’s foundry and was deeply influenced by his realism and by his taste for antiquity. Some of his works from the Neapolitan period are also affected by the influence of other artists operating in Naples, like Achille d’Orsi and Giuseppe Renda. Neiviller traveled to Somalia between the 1933 and the 1935 and there he  opened a little foundry on Uardiglei dune, in Mogadiscio suburbs, where he sculpted some very realistic portraits of the local population.  It was  his generosity towards a countryman that caused his premature death in Somalia on March 29, 1941. In Neiviller’s works, what the author has defined as a ‘transformed realism’ manifests itself in the light of the figurative innovations present in the southern sculpture since the end of the nineteenth century and of the suggestions learned in Africa.

ROBERTA PIANESE after graduating in Archaeology and Art History at University of Naples “Federico II”, she deepened her training in the field of historical-artistic disciplines, earning a Master’s degree at the same University with a thesis in History of Contemporary Art. Later on, she took part in a research project led by Isabella Valente and aimed at drafting the scientific catalogue of the works of the Fondazione Circolo Artistico Politecnico di Napoli, published by Guida Editori in 2018. Her main fields of interest concern nineteenth-and twentieth- century Neapolitan painting and sculpture, with a particular focus on the female presence in the context of southern sculpture. Over the years, she has carried out various professional activities related to the cultural heritage sector.

Rediscoveries: Melina Pignatelli sculptress (1917-2001)

The figure of Melina Pignatelli in the context of Neapolitan female sculpture can be placed in the category of artists who devoted themselves to the figurative arts more for pleasure than by profession. She was primarily a scholar and interpreter of classical music. Her interest in sculpture was revealed in a completely random way during a meeting with the sculptor Carlo De Veroli, which took place around the 1930s. From that moment on, she worked passionately on the art of sculpting, an activity that parallel to the musical one she would carry out throughout her entire life. Her first works are essentially portraits that Melina made for friends and relatives. These compositions disclose how Melina’s positions had been aligned since then to contemporary plastic experiences, divided between primitivist suggestions and ideas from the Italian Novecento. In the portraits taken in the late 1940s and mid-1950s, a variation of her language was heralded leading her towards research focused on greater formal essentialism of archaic inspiration. This orientation is evident in the small sculptural compositions with a sacred character or inspired by the world of music, made since the sixties. During her artistic career, Pignatelli’s participation in the exhibitions was isolated and episodic. In fact, the official debut occurred only in the nineties: in that period were set up several solo shows. On these occasions, she received wide acclaim from the public and critics.