It’s an unreal experience visiting the exhibition of Giovanni Segantini in Milan. Maybe it’s because the grief about his difficult life. maybe it’s because it’s in Milan
the adopted city of his training, remained his enduring human and cultural center for the following two decades of his brief and meteoric trajectory link
Or, maybe it’s just because the beauty of his paintings.
I went to see the exhibition one late Saturday afternoon, when most of the Milanese and tourists were looking for Christmas gifts in the city’s world famous stores. Although there was a longer queue to see the Van Gogh exhibition than there was for Segantini, my excitement for the Segantini exhibit was higher than the mountains that he painted so many times.
Giovanni Segantini, his lovely partner Bice, their three sons and one daughter had already been a part of my life, when I began read about Segantini’s life in the book “Das Schönste, was ich sah” (the Italian title is “Segantini”) by the German writer Asta Scheib. Everything looked familiar when I entered the exhibition.
“Il coro di Sant’Antonio” (The Choir of Sant Antony) (1879)
When I was in front of his first painting “Il coro di Sant’Antonio” (The Choir of Sant Anthony) (1879) my trip in his art really started. In this painting, Segantini started to use the basis of the divisionism that
was the characteristic style in Neo-Impressionist painting defined by the separation of colors into individual dots or patches which interacted optically
I know everything about this painting: he was at the Brera Academy in Milan,. it was his first success. However, up until then, life wasn’t easy for Segantini. He was illiterate and stateless. He found the love of his life in his friend’s, Carlo Bugatti, sister, Luigia whom he nicknamed Bice. In the exhibition, there was only one portrait of Bice, “Petalo Di Rosa” (Petal Of Rose), (link) and I could feel their love in every brush stroke I saw.
He was influenced by a new art: the photography. It’s very clear in the portrait of Signora Torelli (1885-1886) where the lady is in foreground, and in the background, which is blurred, is the Naviglio channel. Although he wasn’t an atheist, he didn’t see God in the church, but in the people, in the nature, and in the animals, line in the wonderful painting “L’Ora Mesta”, a quiet and emotional painting.. Maybe he believed in pantheism.
The most important painting of the exhibition is “Alla Stanga”. It took 6 months for Segantini to paint it. He had to rent the cows to keep them in a certain position for such a long time. The painting was restored recently, and 390 centimeter long (about 12 ft) in size which is it’s quiet big. When you view it, it looks like you can walk in.
“Angelo Della Vita” (Angelo Of The Life) 1894
The last, and biggest painting of the exhibition is the “Angelo Della Vita” (Angelo Of The Life). It’s a piece from 1894 and it symbolizes the season of Segantini. This particular work of art shows a warm hug between a woman and her son, and it opens another important page of Segantini: his bad relationship with his mother.
You can visit the exhibition until January 18, for more information: http://www.mostrasegantini.it/
Giovanni Segantini – Ritorno a Milano
18th September 2014 – 18th January 2015
Piazza Duomo, 12 – 20121 Milano