Gandi Giacomo, An Opinion – The Little Shoemaker
AH01512AFC.jpg
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1872; oil on canvas
cm. 45 x 44
Signed bottom left: "G. Gandi"
Inventory: AH01512AFC
Provenance: Finarte, Auction 532, Milan, 12 December 1985
Exibition: 1872, Milano, n. 529; 1997, Savigliano, Museo Civico, Giacomo Gandi. Realtà in pittura tra ‘800 e ‘900, (catalogo non pubblicato)

This painting, purchased on the antique market in 1985, has been recently identified as the work shown at the Seconda Esposizione Nazionale di Belle Arti di Brera, in 1872, in which Gandi, at the outset of his career, also participated with An Image.
Having just finished his studies at the Accademia Albertina in Turin, Gandi made his debut in the Piedmont capital by exhibiting – also in 1872 and probably for the first time – in the annual show of the Società Promotrice di Belle Arti, where he won third prize for the watercolour Woman from the Roman Countryside (Gazzetta Piemontese, year VI, no. 157, Turin, 7 June 1872, p. 2). The subject of the work was not chosen merely by chance since in those years,  Gandi went to live in Rome, and then he moved to Florence and Parma, as part of his training. In Rome he mixed in the artistic circles that gravitated around Mariano Fortuny, while in Florence he became familiar with the style of the Macchiaioli painters. He finally returned to Savigliano around the middle of that decade and frequently took part in exhibitions in Turin and elsewhere in Italy with works that were often watercolours.
Influenced by Gaetano Chierici among others, Gandi interpreted genre painting with personal flair and the work in the Collection is a fine example of this. A woman is seated in a shoemaker’s shop, where a young boy is busy admiring his work with the air of an expert craftsman. The painting describes with precise realism the interior of the shop, from the furnishings to the tools on the workbench, and the anecdotal details of the poster on the wall and the faded holy pictures on the window. The poster depicting a man on horseback holding a flaming torch could be identified as an allegory of Socialist Progress and a reference to the Paris Commune of 1871. In this humble context Gandi therefore adds a political iconographic element implicitly alluding in this genre scene to recent historical events, which would have been immediately understood by viewers at the Milanese exhibition.

Sources:Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio archivistico Cariplo, Opere d'arte. Atti d'acquisto ex Cariplo. Fald. 2/3, pratica no. 879 R/696

Bibliography

Seconda Esposizione Nazionale di Belle Arti diretta da un comitato eletto dalla regia Accademia di Brera, Società Cooperativa fra i Tipografi, Milano, 1872, n. 529, p. 59;
Sguardo all’Esposizione d’arte moderna, in “Il Secolo. Giornale politico quotidiano”, a. VII, n. 2283, Milano, 1 settembre 1872, p. 2;
Dipinti del XIX Secolo, Asta 532, Finarte, Milano, 1985, n. 79, p. 46, ill. (Il piccolo calzolaio);
Sergio Rebora, Giacomo Gandi, Un parere o Il piccolo calzolaio, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 93, p. 175, ill. p. 174

Laura Casone
 
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