Italian naivism arose in the Po River region of Piedmont, in northwestern Italy, early in the twentieth century. Gradually, it appeared in Umbria, Lombardy, Tuscany, Sicily and Sardinia, as well. The Italian naives pay homage to their local regions, mixing poetic fancy with reverent, earthy depictions of everyday life, reflecting a love of the Italian village, countryside and common folk.
The naïve art of Italy has all of the traditional elements of naivism: a refreshing innocence, bright colors, childlike perspective, idiosyncratic scale, punctilious detail, and simple, idealized scenes of daily life that celebrate the human narrative. Regarding the idealized scenes, however, the Italian naives are confronted with a formidable challenge. The glorious beauty of the Italian countryside is so idyllic that their success at rendering the already breathtaking reality even more idealized is astonishing.
But how individualistic and different from one another are their styles! While Giovanni Galli, Francesco Maiolo and Cesare Novi afford us a puristic, refined view of the northern and central Italian landscape, Galli’s depictions are elegantly delicate and riveting; Maiolo’s are tranquilly pastoral and inspiring; while Novi’s are enigmatically cool and embracing.
Cesare Marchesini and Luciano Prandini depict daily life in the Italian countryside, but Marchesini’s renditions are lushly chromatic and romantic, while Prandini’s are architecturally measured and realistic.
Both Alessandra Puppo and Franco Mora offer us a child-like, primitivistic portrayal of Italian village life, but Puppo’s figures lovingly enjoy the seaports near Portofino, while Mora’s colorfully spin through the hills and dales of Parma.
Guido Vedovato and Giuliano Zoppi provide us with dream-like and idyllic settings; but Vedovato’s gnome-like figures are a feast for the eye, while Zoppi’s shimmering portraits are a joy for the intellect.
Regardless of style, Italian nativism captures life’s rhythms in bucolic scenes that are endearing and enchanting. We extend, therefore, special congratulations to these extraordinary artists, whose breathtaking works have made the naïve world – and our world – a heart’s delight.
Here is a taste of the exhibition: http://youtu.be/QuQrVq9cjIM