Bucci Anselmo, Monza
works associated

1,951; charcoal and tempera on reinforced hazel-coloured paper lined with newspaper and mounted on canvas
cm. 117, 5 x 247,5
Signed and dated bottom left: "A. BUCCI 1951"
Inventory: AI00211AFC
Provenance: purchased on 12 October 1951
Exibition: 2019, Monza, n. 70

Documentary sources are unfortunately lacking concerning the provenance of this work which, according to recent studies, was purchased on 2 October 1951. The date of execution and the subject of the painting are indicative, however, if we consider the fact that the Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde actually opened its new branch at Monza in 1951. Moreover, it is interesting to note that the bank bought another of Bucci’s paintings, The Sisters from Brianza, in October 1951, which is further proof of its direct relationship with the artist.

The work depicts a sweeping view of Piazza Trento e Trieste at Monza, seen, as might be expected, from the side where the branch of the Cassa di Risparmio stood. The War Memorial by the sculptor Enrico Pancera, which was unveiled in 1932, rises up in the centre of the foreground; we also recognise, from left to right, the bell tower of the Arengario, the campanile and façade of the cathedral and, on the far right, the church of S. Maria in Strada.

Just as the subject of the work can be explained by its being intended for the newly opened branch, the choice of artist was not casual; in fact, Bucci had resided in Monza since 1943, the year in which his Milanese studio in Largo Augusto was destroyed by bombing. In actual fact, this was a return to the city, because he had joined his family there in 1903, the year he finished high school in Venice and decided to study at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, where he enrolled in 1904. The next year, however, he had already made up his mind to leave Italy and go to Paris where he lived until 1914, leaving the city only occasionally. When he came back to Italy he opened another studio in Milan, returning to Monza periodically to visit the family, especially his sister Bigia of whom he was very fond. So he never really severed his ties with Monza, and one can easily understand why some views of the city recur in his production from the early years of his career, shortly before going to Paris, which was a career-shaping experience that enabled him to establish himself as a painter who keenly observed metropolitan life.

At a much later time, as attested by the work in the Cariplo Collection, the painter returned to the urban view. Immediately after the Second World War that devastated entire cities in Italy, Bucci  investigated the reconstruction sites, as in the series Bridge over the River Metauro under Construction (1946, Fossombrone, Quadreria Cesarini), and the renewed urban centres, seeking signs of a return to normality. In this painting the buildings and monuments of Monza are depicted in a suspended atmosphere created by the monochromy of the composition; in fact, the work is executed in charcoal with only a few patches of white tempera that break up the geometry of the drawing and imbue the image with a feeling of melancholic lyricism.

Sources:no document found


Leo Lecci, Anselmo Bucci, Monza, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. Il Novecento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 2000, n. 41, pp. 75-76, ill. p. 75;
Martina Corgnati, a cura di, con la collaborazione di Lucia Molino, Dal marmo al missile. Capolavori d’arte svelati fra tradizione e innovazione, catalogo della mostra, Monza, Orangerie della Reggia di Monza, 23 maggio - 13 ottobre 2019, Silvana editoriale, Cinisello Balsamo, 2019, n. 70, pp. 156-157

Laura Casone
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