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Still life of a stool

Fillide Giorgi Levasti (Florence 1883-1966)

Oil on canvas
59x47 cm.
Giorn. 5605

bottom right “F. Giorgi - / LEVASTI 1918"

After studying at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence with Giovanni Fattori and Augusto Rivalta, painter Fillide Giorgi approached the circle of the magazine "La Voce" and formed a strong bond with the painter Giovanni Costetti. Probably due to the influence of the latter, she turned to Germanic art and made frequent trips to Munich, Geneva and Leipzig between 1906 and 1910, where she was able to absorb the particular research into the use of colour that had developed in the post-impressionist and secessionist context. Married in 1914 to Jewish philosopher Arrigo Levasti, she continued to paint and assiduously frequented artists, musicians and writers from the Florentine cultural and political world: but her and her husband's resolute antifascism marginalised her from the official circuits of Italian culture and prevented her from achieving the success she deserved.

During the 1910s, her favourite subject was still life, based on a formal solidity that was reminiscent of Fattori's work, but also very close, in its bright and forthright use of colour and its synthetic rendering of volumes, to the Cezannism of certain Tuscan paintings of this period, exemplified in the work of her peer Oscar Ghiglia, whom the artist must certainly have looked up to. Thus, in this painting, which looks to Ghiglia's post-Macchiaiola painting, even in the refined choice of majolica in elegant Art Nouveau style, everyday objects are emphasised in their three-dimensional components through a calibrated use of light and colour. The foreshortened view from below reinforces both the strong plastic sense and the tightness of the composition, calibrated and harmonic, like a musical fugue (S. Ragionieri, 1999). Not surprisingly, the painting was in the collection of the composer and pianist Luigi Dallapiccola and was donated to the Gallery of Modern Art by his daughter Annalibera in 1996.

Text by
Francesca Sborgi
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