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Exhibition

Persistence of Tradition

Introduction

Neoclassicism

Scenographic Design

Topographical Views

The New Reality

Introduction

Turin

Rome

Naples

Milan

Venice

A Different Modernism

Introduction

Precursors

Futurism

Futurism in Print

Individualists

The Persistence of Tradition

tradition-installation

Through the first half of the nineteenth century, Italian art was dominated by an acute awareness of the artistic glories of the culture’s distant past. This legacy weighed heavily, fortifying and extending the life of neoclassicism, the eighteenth-century revival of ancient Greco-Roman aesthetics and ideals, as in no other country, well into the mid-1800s. Neoclassicism’s preference for themes from antiquity and measured, rational style are evident in prints and drawings along the left wall of the room pictured here. The artistic preeminence of Italy during the Renaissance and baroque periods was an equally inescapable memory, revisited in the early 1800s in a last great moment of engravings after the masterpieces of those eras. Mauro Gandolfi’s translation of the sixteenth-century master Correggio, on the wall in the middle of the room, is a superb example. Art academies across Italy, whose institutional authority went unquestioned, guided and promoted this retrospection in the training of their students. At the same time, theater design and topographic views, having taken shape and flourished during the previous century, adapted to new challenges—the rise in popularity of melodramatic opera and the ever-expanding number of tourists desiring souvenirs. The significance of the one can be gathered from examples along the right wall, the other in the two grand panoramas at the far end of the room. New directions in European art of the period—romanticism, realism, naturalism—did reach Italy, but were never expressed as autonomous styles. Instead, they became subcurrents within the prevailing traditions, from the personalized neoclassicism of Fortunato Duranti to the sublime scenography of Antonio Basoli to the evocative landscapes of Carlo Bossoli.

Neoclassicism

Scenographic Design

Topographical Views