Sottocornola Giovanni, Maternal Joys
works associated

1,894 - 1,896; oil on canvas
cm. 120,3 x 64,6
Signed and dated bottom right: "GSottocornola [with intertwined initials]/ 1896". On the back, on the canvas, top centre, printed paper label: “REMATE/ POR/ PEDRO NOCETTI & C.ÍA/ Venta Artistica/ Diciembre de 1898 [Asta indetta da Pedro Nocetti & C. Vendita artistica. Dicembre 1898]/ [N°] 90”
Inventory: AH01733AFC
Provenance: Buenos Aires, Galleria Pedro Nocetti & C. (in 1898); Finarte, Auction 872, Milan, 9 November 1993 (post auction buy)
Exibition: 1898, Buenos Aires, (catalogo non reperito); 1996, Mantova, n. 93; 1998-1999, Monza, n. 72; 2008-2009, Bergamo, s. n.; 2010, Pavia, n. 8

Like the other works by Sottocornola in the Collection,  I Am a Painter Too, Fruit Seller and Bricklayer (figure from life), this painting also comes from the South American art market. The label on the back referring to the auction organised by Pedro Nocetti in 1898 is evidence of this. His activity is documented from the 1880s on when he opened the gallery Nocetti y Repetto in Buenos Aires, with another art dealer who was probably Italian,  which soon became established as one of the main ‘bazaars’. These shops, which were found in Argentina but also in Chile and Uruguay, sold all kinds of artworks and also mounted actual exhibitions. They targeted the local middle class who enjoyed entrepreneurial success and were developing their tastes as collectors during this period.

After the auction in Argentina all traces of the painting were lost until it reappeared recently on the Italian antique market and was bought in 1993.

Inspired by the theme of maternal love, it depicts a mother kissing her little girl, set charmingly against the light and dominated by the window in the background, a subject that is virtually the same as that of the painting My Joy! (private collection, formerly owned by Norberto Sacchi) shown in the 2nd Esposizione Triennale dell’Accademia di Brera. Although it is dated 1896, this work is more likely to have been a preparatory study for, rather than a later copy of, the large canvas  exhibited in Brera. In fact, the canvas in the Collection has some pentimenti, particularly on the little girl’s head, that indicate the different stages in the development of the canvas, which Sottocornola returned to in 1896 when he signed it, probably with a view to sending it across the Atlantic. At that time he painted over a good part of the background with broad, thick brushstrokes, which did not adhere to the previous layer of paint that was already dry, and have flaked off in several places leaving the canvas showing through.

The theme of family affections was to return in the artist’s mature works, in which his wife and daughters were to be the most frequent subjects of his genre painting inspired by intimate scenes of everyday life.

Sources:Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio archivistico Cariplo, Opere d'arte. Atti d'acquisto ex Cariplo. Fald. 3/3, pratica no. 879 R/988


Dipinti del XIX secolo, Asta 872, Finarte, Milano, 1993, n. 98, p. 68, ill.;
Anna Ranzi, Giovanni Sottocornola, Gioie materne, in Tesori d'arte delle banche lombarde, Associazione Bancaria Italiana, Milano, 1995, n. 648, p. 337, ill.;
Anna Ranzi, Giovanni Sottocornola, Gioie materne, in Raccolte d'arte delle banche lombarde, catalogo della mostra, Mantova, Palazzo Te, 18 aprile – 23 giugno 1996, Electa, Milano, 1996, n. 93, p. 111, ill.;
Anna Ranzi, Giovanni Sottocornola, Gioie materne, in Carlo Pirovano, a cura di, Luci e colori del vero. Genti e paesi nella pittura veneta e lombarda dalle collezioni Ambroveneto-Banca Intesa e Fondazione Cariplo, catalogo della mostra, Monza, Serrone della Villa Reale, 20 novembre 1998 – 24 gennaio 1999, Electa, Milano, 1998, n. 72, p. 139, ill.;
Sergio Rebora, Giovanni Sottocornola, Gioie materne, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 228, pp. 332-333, ill. p. 332 (scheda ripubblicata in Maria Teresa Fiorio – Sergio Rebora, a cura di, 2010);
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. 66;
Maria Teresa Fiorio – Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Da Hayez a Sironi. La pittura moderna in Lombardia attraverso le opere della Fondazione Cariplo, catalogo della mostra, Pavia, Castello Visconteo, Sala del Rivellino, 30 aprile – 23 maggio 2010, Skira, Milano, 2010, n. 8, p. 32, ill. p. 33

Laura Casone
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