Gignous Eugenio, The Environs of Milan – Washerwomen at the Magolfa – The Magolfa Canalen at the Magolfa
AH02010AFC.jpg
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1,870; oil on canvas
cm. 55 x 42
Signed and dated bottom left: “E. Gignous/ 1870”. On the back of the canvas, top centre, cutting from catalogue with stamped inscription: “96 Dintorni di Milano del Sig. Eugenio Gignous”; centre, in ink: “E. Gignous/ Lavandaie/ della Magolfa (MI)”
Inventory: AH02010AFC
Provenance: antique market (in 1988); Rome, Istituto Bancario Italiano (IBI) Collection (until 1991)
Exibition: 1870, Torino, n. 96; 1994, Milano, n. 72; 2010, Pavia, n. 6

The painting entered the Istituto Bancario Italiano (IBI) Collection from the antique market, and can be identified as the canvas shown in 1870 at the 29th Turin Esposizione della Società per le Belle Arti. It is one of the first works executed by the painter after he had just finished studying at the Brera Academy and was taking part in the exhibitions held in Genoa, Turin and Milan, where he showed works inspired by the places and rural life in the Milanese and Brianza countryside. In this painting in the Collection, the young Gignous depicts the lush greenery near an irrigation canal where the local women did their washing. Beyond the path running alongside the canal the first houses on the outskirts of the city rise up: a sign of the urbanisation process that was gradually spreading to areas previously destined mainly for agriculture. It was precisely to the countryside just outside the city that the painter used to go with his friends Achille Tominetti and Luigi Rossi to paint from life. These years of intense activity produced works like this Environs of Milan and also Rustic Courtyard in the Vicinity of Milan (Milan, Museo di Milano), which won a prize at the annual Brera exhibition in 1870. In these canvases, Gignous’s landscape painting is still influenced by the late Romantic academic style, but his observation of life is already painstaking and sensitive: using a detailed technique he focuses on the foliage of the trees and the hedges, skilfully varying the tonalities of green to depict the light from the clear sky reflecting on the vegetation and the roofs of the houses. In the following years, his constant practice of painting en plein air enabled him to achieve freer handling by embracing and exploring the developments of Lombard Naturalism.

From November 2011, the work has been on view at the Gallerie d’Italia in Milan.

Sources:Archivio Fondazione Cariplo, Pratiche Ex IBI. Opere d’arte. Fald. 1/2, scheda carico opere d’arte IBI no. 1353

Bibliography

Catalogo degli oggetti d'arte alla XXIX Esposizione aperta il 30 aprile 1870 nell'edificio della Società, V. Bona Tip. della R. Accademia Albertina, Torino, 1870, n. 96, p. 9;
Paolo Biscottini, a cura di, Pittura Lombarda del secondo Ottocento. Lo sguardo sulla realtà, catalogo della mostra, Milano, Fiera, 28 ottobre – 11 dicembre 1994, Electa, Milano, 1994, n. 72, p. 209, ill. p. 103 (Il naviglio della Magolfa);
Tesori d'arte delle banche lombarde, Associazione Bancaria Italiana, Milano, 1995, p. 260, ill. n. 497 (Lavandaia della Magolfa);
Sergio Rebora, Eugenio Gignous, Dintorni di Milano o Lavandaie alla Magolfa, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 96, p. 176, ill. p. 177 (scheda ripubblicata in Maria Teresa Fiorio – Sergio Rebora, a cura di, 2010);
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. 6, p. 28, ill. p. 29;
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. VII.95, p. 215, ill.

Laura Casone
 
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