Calvi Ercole, Lombardy Heathland
AH01703AFC.jpg
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1,887; oil on canvas
cm. 71 x 120
Signed bottom left: “Ercole Calvi” Autograph label reading “Brughiera lombarda” on stretcher
Inventory: AH01703AFC
Provenance: 1993, Milan, Finarte
Exibition: 1887, Venezia, n. 91; 2008-2009, Bergamo, s. n.

The autograph label with the Italian title Brughiera lombarda on the stretcher has made it possible to identify this work as the painting exhibited at the Esposizione Nazionale di Venezia of 1887.

The canvas was received favourably by the critics who stressed the fact that Calvi had taken further the researches of the contemporary Verist painters. This work marked a turning point that first became evident at the beginning of the 1880s when the artist gradually went beyond the landscapes he turned out one after another, which were in great demand though still strongly indebted to Romantic models.

The painting in the Cariplo Collection depicts the same view as Monte Rosa (Verona, Galleria d’Arte Moderna) exhibited at the Esposizione di Belle Arti di Verona of 1886. In both works, we find the same desolate stretch of heathland with a path running through it along which a woman and child are walking, and the imposing mass of the snow-covered mountain in the distance. In the work under examination, however, the feeling of solitude is alleviated by the village and its inhabitants in the foreground.

The treatment of the subject at various times of day, the more detailed characterisation of the figures and the concern with luministic values – rendered with short, dense brushstrokes that are no longer merely descriptive – lead us to suppose that the artist worked en plein air in the manner of the Naturalist school of landscape painting.

It is not unlikely that Calvi’s research during this period took into consideration the late works by his teacher Giuseppe Canella, which depicted vast, desolate expanses of the Rome countryside.

From November 2011, the work has been on view at the Gallerie d’Italia in Milan.

Sources:Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio Cariplo, Opere d’arte. Atti d’acquisto ex Cariplo. Fald. 3/3, pratica no. 879 R/968

Bibliography

Esposizione nazionale artistica Venezia 1887. Catalogo ufficiale, Prem. Stab. Tipo-Lit. Dell'Emporio, Venezia, 1887, n. 91, p. 39;
Giovanni Antonio Aymo, I Veronesi alla mostra di Venezia. II, in "L'Arena. Giornale di Verona" a. XXII, n. 136, Verona, 18-19 maggio 1887, p.2 ;
Esposizione Artistica, in “L’Adige.Gazzetta del popolo politico-cotidiana del mattino", Verona, 30 aprile 1888;
Dipinti del XIX secolo, Asta 852, Finarte, Milano, 1993, n. 62, p. 48;
Tesori d'arte delle banche lombarde, Associazione Bancaria Italiana, Milano, 1995, p. 227, ill. n. 418;
Sergio Rebora, Ercole Calvi, Brughiera lombarda, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 37, p. 101, ill.;
Andrea Tomezzoli, Verona, in Giuseppe Pavanello, a cura di, La Pittura nel Veneto. L’Ottocento, I, Electa, Milano, 2002, p. 344;
Chiara Gattoli, Ercole Calvi, Banco Popolare, Verona, 2007, p. 55.;
Fernando Noris, a cura di, Ottocento tra realtà e sogno. Il lungo secolo della pittura italiana e lombarda, catalogo della mostra, Bergamo, Spazio Viterbi, 28 novembre 2008 - 22 febbraio 2009, Provincia di Bergamo - Fondazione Cariplo, Bergamo - Milano, 2008, ill. p. 25;
Elena Lissoni, in Fernando Mazzocca, a cura di, Da Canova a Boccioni. Le collezioni della Fondazione Cariplo e di Intesa Sanpaolo, Skira, Milano, 2011, n. XI.167, p.240, ill.

Elena Lissoni
 
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