'ROMANTICISM'

ON EXHIBITION AT ITALIAN GALLERIES AND THE POLDI PEZZOLI MUSEUM

2018-12-12

The artist enters his studio, you can smell turpentine in the air, the oil of colors, on the easel a picture just begun. He opens up the window and he stops there to watch the life flow outside, the troubles in the apartments next door, in the streets, he is amazed and touched at the same time.

David Friedrich, John Baptist de Gubernatis, Massimo D'Azeglio, Carlo Canella are some of the romantic painters who have represented their studies in wonderful works with a close-up on the window open to the world. We are in the first half of the nineteenth century, the romantic painter seems to be pervaded by a melancholy and anxiety. The romantic painter loves the landscapes of nature, boundless valleys, forests, mountains. Bagetti and Reviglio are dazzled by the Moncenisio, Massimo D'Azeglio from the height of the Sacra di San Michele, Canella from the Roman countryside, Basiletti from Franciacorta. The romantic landscape is characterized by the absence of conflicts, there is no war, there is no drama, only a great quiet, an inner peace or the search for an inner peace.

The nocturno in Capri by Salvatore Fergola is breathtaking: in a flat sea lit by the full moon a fishermen's sailing boat, in the distance two faraglioni can be glimpsed. There is stillness, which is quite strange being on the eve of the revolutionary motions of '48!

The romantic painter loves the night, not only the Fregola, but also Joseph Rebell, Piero Bagetti, Ippolito Caffi with his beautiful Venetian Night. The romantic painter is ultimately a philosopher or a poet or both, because he seeks the profound beauty of reality and remains moved by it. Also by Ippolito Caffi are the view of Naples and the interior of the Colosseum, here too a sense of ample space that also means the greatness of the landscape represented. The author is in love with what he sees, of his beautiful Italy. As is Angelo Inganni for Milan, who represents several times, especially around Piazza del Duomo, portraying daily life with its variety of characters, from the rich bourgeois to the street vendor. Giuseppe Molteni gives us a close-up of these Milanese characters, portraying the children who were seven-year-old chimney sweepers or who sold milk. They are children without a smile, on the contrary, with sad faces because the joy of childhood has been taken from them and the painter knows it well and rewards them by making their humble figures of absolute masterpieces for details, poses, color, light. The romantic painter does not need a religious theme or a rich commissioner to make a sublime work because in those children, in that landscape, in that popular scene, he sees God.

The exhibition at Italian Galleries runs in Milan until March 17, 2019 and it is truly a journey worth having it, an inner journey and a path through the history of our country.

(Maximiliano Cattaneo)

˙