Filippini Francesco, First Snow – Landscape
connected artists

1,889; oil on canvas
cm. 115 x 80
Signed bottom right: "F. Filippini"
Inventory: AH01454AFC
Provenance: 1983, Milan, Finarte
Exibition: 1889, Milano, n. 409; 1999-2000, Brescia, n. 217; 2010, Monza, n. VII.7

The work appeared repeatedly on the antique market in the early 1980s and entered the Cariplo Collection in 1983.


Critics have recently suggested this is the canvas First Snow, exhibited in 1889 at the Società per le Belle Arti ed Esposizione Permanente and was offered for sale on that occasion for the considerable sum of 1500 lire. This theory is supported by the stylistic features of the work that coincide with those typical of the artist’s mature period, by the subject matter and by the painting’s large size, which would justify the high price demanded.


The composition is constructed, within the vertical framing, using broad juxtaposed volumes and a slightly raised viewpoint that extends the visible space as far as the range of mountains on the horizon. The  snow-capped mountains, their rugged outlines standing out against the snow–laden sky, tower above a natural setting where the houses on the right barely suggest the presence of people. As winter approaches, a hostile harsh nature is depicted using a severe palette of browns and greens applied to an ochre ground in short interwoven brushstrokes of varying consistency to suggest trees, paths and grass, which constitutes the hallmark of Filippini’s style.


A major exponent of Lombard Naturalism, the artist was greatly influenced by Filippo Carcano’s landscapes, and a friend of Eugenio Gignous and Giovanni Segantini. From 1880 until his death in 1895, Filippini devoted himself almost exclusively to landscape painting and developed a very personal pictorial language. In his mature works he arrived at an extremely synthetic style that tended not to be understood by contemporary critics.

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. 2/3, pratica no. 879 R/627


L’Esposizione di Belle Arti alla Permanente, in “La Lombardia. Giornale politico”, a. XXXI, n. 111, Milano, 22-23 aprile 1889, p. 2;
Società per le Belle Arti ed Esposizione Permanente. Esposizione annuale. Catalogo ufficiale, Milano, 1889, n. 409, p. 41;
Luigi Chirtani, L’Esposizione di Belle Arti alla Permanente. Musica e pittura, in “Corriere della sera”, a. XIV, n. 131, Milano, 13-14 maggio 1889, p.1;
Asta di dipinti del XIX secolo, Asta 384, Finarte, Milano, 1981, n. 224, p. 224 (come Autunno);
Dipinti del XIX secolo, Asta 457, Finarte, Milano, 1983, n. 164, p. 37, ill. p. 36 (come Paesaggio);
Sergio Rebora, Francesco Filippini, Prime Nevi, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 84, p. 165, ill.;
Sergio Rebora, Francesco Filippini, Prime Nevi, in Vasco Frati, a cura di, Francesco Filippini 1853-1895. Un protagonista del naturalismo lombardo, catalogo della mostra, Brescia, Museo di Santa Giulia, 12 dicembre 1999 – 19 marzo 2000, Skira, Milano, 1999, n. 217, p. 149, ill. p. 107;
Paola Segramora Rivolta, Francesco Filippini, Prime Nevi, in Fernando Mazzocca, a cura di, Il paesaggio dell'Ottocento a Villa Reale. Le raccolte dei musei lombardi tra Neoclassicismo e Simbolismo, catalogo della mostra, Monza, Serrone della Villa Reale, 20 marzo 2010-11 luglio 2010, Allemandi, Torino, 2010, n. VII.7, p. 148, ill. p. 97;
Paola Segramora Rivolta, in Fernando Mazzocca, a cura di, Da Canova a Boccioni. Le collezioni della Fondazione Cariplo e di Intesa Sanpaolo, Skira, Milano, 2011, n. XI.170, p. 241, ill.

Elena Lissoni
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