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Works from Bruno Mantura collection

Tuesday 23 March 2021, 03:00 PM • Rome


Luigi Galli

(Milano 1822 - Roma 1900)

Pastoral scene


€ 1.000 - 1.500


€ 1.280

The price includes buyer's premium


oil on canvas, unframed
110 x 80 cm

A painter with an eclectic personality and bizarre ways, Luigi Galli trained in Milan at the Brera Academy (1835-1845), absorbing stimuli from both neoclassical culture and Lombard scapigliatura. He will then stay in Rome, taking part in the defense of the Roman Republic, then in Naples, becoming interested in the painting of Filippo Palizzi and Domenico Morelli, in Venice, where he deepens his knowledge of Venetian art, then in Paris and London, and then reappears in Rome in 1870 where he will remain until his death, attending both the circle of the Spaniards and the studio of Fortuny, and the environment headed by Nino Costa.

Artist little studied, also due to the scarcity of works with certain dates and his different stylistic ways, he alternated his artistic activity with philosophical and scientific interests, also experimenting in painting procedures and materials of his own invention. Author mainly of portraits and sacred and mythological subjects, he had an unconventional approach with ancient culture, often interpreted according to a romantic and visionary register. As Daniela Fonti writes, "the Classic is not for him an absolute aesthetic category, much less a moral imperative: but as for the artists of the eighteenth century it is a world to be fantastically evoked, populated by Satyrs and nymphs, stendhalian presences that emerge flashing from the dark " [1] . An example, in this sense, is the painting Pastoral scene, where a young shepherd absorbed in reading is depicted seated in a dark wooded environment that the brushstroke frees, pasty and decomposed, set on the low tones of the palette, renders in a vague and indefinite way. The figure takes light from mysterious gleams in the background in which some ghostly presences can be glimpsed. If the motif of the pastoral scene draws on the vast classical culture of the artist, and in the crushed character of the brushstroke we find both the last Titian and the Lombard scapigliatura and some experiences of the second Neapolitan nineteenth century, Mancini in particular, a central role in the fantastic interpretation of the subject must be attributed to the trip to London, in which the artist was able to come into contact with English symbolism and, in particular, with the works of George Frederic Watts. "He saw for the first time in the paintings of Watts the legends of the north and the luminous mythological stories, disguised with Nordic fantasy" [...] his classicism has nothing to do with that which waned in the first half of the nineteenth century because he is nervous , fantastic and rich in compositions " [2] , writes Federico Herman in about the artist, also underlining the difficulty of deciphering his iconographies: "The subjects are often incomprehensible and here and there they show us unusual and strange elements" [3] .

Galli's freedom compared to the antique, which configures his painting as one of the less banal experiences of the Italian scene of the second half of the nineteenth century, also clearly emerges in the sheet with Alexander and Diogenes (lot 106, a), in which the The theme of the encounter between the conqueror and the philosopher, frequently treated above all in eighteenth-century painting, is interpreted with a moving and rhythmic design in the form, resolved in synthetic and fast masses of light and shadow. In any case, the pictorial-luministic approach distinguishes all his graphic production: in the Portrait of a woman & nbsp; (lot 106, b) the figure emerges as an apparition from a dark background defined at times by quick pencil but with a regular diagonal course; opposed to this by the curved and decomposed signs which, building the plasticity of the face, illuminate it with a mobile and vibrant light.

Sabrina Spinazzè

< span class = "Characternote page"> [1] & nbsp; & nbsp; The scandalous boredom of the world. a painting and 40 drawings by Luigi Galli (1822 –1900) , exhibition catalog edited by D. Fonti, Rome, Galleria Carlo Virgilio, 1980, p. 6.

[2] & nbsp; & nbsp; F. Hermanin, Luigi Galli painter , Turin 1924, p. 15.

[3] & nbsp; & nbsp; F. Hermanin, Luigi Galli , in "Art Bulletin of the Ministry of Education", 1922, 15, p. 86.

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