The art period which goes from the end of 19th Century to the begin of 20th Century is definitely my favorite. While the great masters of painting, such as Giotto or Da Vinci, created beautiful, technically perfect masterpieces, the movements which originated after Impressionism focused on a more subjective, intimate dimension. The artist’s personality, history and vision of the world became prevalent and the following vanguards and artworks are still very powerful nowadays in the way they communicate, move the audience and offer an interpretation of the reality or the mind. So, to end this year and begin 2016 at best, I really cannot miss the following exhibitions.
ALFONS MUCHA | Milan, Palazzo Reale
The one with Alfons Mucha is a longtime love story. It dates back to my high school years, when I learnt about the Art Nouveau movement. The age of Liberty and Sezessionstil was simply glorious: it opened the 20th Century with sophisticated elegance, decorating the interiors and exteriors with delicate floral motifs and geometric patterns, it elevated the so-called “minor arts”, such as jewelry and craftsmanship, to the level of painting and architecture, it gave a huge boost to graphic design and advertising and gifted the world with some of the most memorable artists ever.
Among them, Alfons Mucha was one of the most important names of Art Nouveau. His colorful posters, with women dressed in flowers, jewels and beautiful dressed, became the symbol of an era and had a huge influence also on illustration, advertising and design.
The exhibition at Palazzo Reale, from December 10 to March 20, tells his career through 149 artworks, together with a broad selection of potteries, furniture, drawings and accessories crafted by the artist of early 20th Century, so that spectators can truly experience the fascinating atmosphere of the Art Nouveau.
MARC CHAGALL | Brescia, Museum of Santa Giulia
Just like Van Gogh and other masters of 20th Century, Chagall is one of those artists who are difficult to connect to a single movement. His works mix different artistic and cultural elements: the popular tradition of Russia, where he lived and studies for years, episodes taken from the Bible and his Jewish background, but also several aspects of the French vanguards, like Cubism and Fauvism, taken from his years in Paris.
A very unique and recognizable style, full of poetry and childhood references, with a use of color which, over time, goes beyond the borders of the shapes, in order to become free on the canvas, independent from the form. The exhibition in Brescia, open till February 15, focuses on the artworks of the Russian years, from 1907 to 1924. Among them, The Walk is a picture of the artist and his wife Bella, a symbol of love beyond the limits of the Nature.
GIORGIO DE CHIRICO | Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti
I must admit it, my interest for De Chirico is quite recent, as years ago, when I studied his work, I really couldn’t understand his genius. A genius which starts from literally inventing a new movement, the scuola metafisica, which tries to represent what goes beyond the physical appearance of reality, beyond the physical experience of the senses. The doubts of our existence create suspended, anxious atmospheres: desert squares out of time and secret rooms with mannequins, sculptures and characters with no face.
The exhibitions at Palazzo dei Diamanti is open until February 28 and collects the works of the years De Chirico spent in Ferrara, the years which gave birth to the scuola metafisica. Icons of the modern age, which strongly influenced Dada and Surrealism, not to mention the Italian art and architecture of the following years.
To complete this journey in the early 20th Century, I suggest also the big exhibition in Rome, dedicated to Toulouse-Lautrec. 170 artworks at the Ara Pacis Museum, which come from Budapest and will be open to visit until May 2016.