Discovolo Antonio, The Wheat
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1,931; oil on canvas
cm. 98 x 94,5
Signed and dated on the back: "Antonio Discovolo / 1931"
Inventory: AI00037AFC
Provenance: Milan, Galleria Pesaro (1934)
Exibition: 1933, Milano, Galleria Pesaro, n. 25

The painting, executed in 1931 and purchased in 1934 on the occasion of the artist’s one-man show at the Galleria Pesaro in Milan, depicts the wheat harvest. The newly reaped wheat is heaped on a paved courtyard looking out onto a terraced hillside with a mountain in the background. Scythes and a rake are lying on the sheaves.

This is a view of  the Ligurian countryside near Bonassola where the artist had moved in 1910 and which he loved all his life.

The composition is constructed around a central axis that is slightly lowered and accentuated by the low wall. The balanced elements indicate how close the artist was to the Classicism of the Novecento Italiano group, while the volumes are not rendered through chiaroscuro,  a technique adopted, for example, by Mario Sironi and Achille Funi, but are created by light touches of contrasting colour. This approach, which has aspects in common with that of Armando Spadini in In the Gardens of Villa Borghese, reveals Antonio Discovolo’s training. From 1891 to 1893 the artist was a pupil of Giovanni Fattori in Florence while, in Rome, between 1899 and 1900, his style was influenced by the Symbolism of Nino Costa and Giulio Aristide Sartorio. Having befriended Plinio Nomellini, in the post-World War I years the artist became particularly known for his Ligurian subjects, which the critics considered to have derived from the 19th-century Lombard tradition.

Sources:Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio Cariplo, Fondo Storico, Spese. Addenda. Fald.1, pratica no. 879 R/29, 4 January 1934

Bibliography

Mostra del pittore Antonio Discovolo, catalogo della mostra, Milano, Galleria Pesaro, 16 – 27 dicembre 1933, Edizioni d’arte Emilio Bestetti, Milano , 1933, n. 25, s.n.p.;
Leo Lecci, Antonio Discovolo, Grano, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d'arte. Il Novecento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 2000, n. 109, pp. 133-135, ill.

Antonella Crippa
 
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