The exhibition is devoted to the graphics of Giovanni Fattori and it proposes an itinerary focusing on one of the fundamental themes of the artist’s production; military life.
“My ideal was the military subjects, because I saw these brave lads ready to sacrifice everything for the good of their homeland and their family but, as an acute observer as I was, I also liked to illustrate social life in its saddest manifestations.” These few words, written by the artist when he was almost eighty, encapsulate the meaning of his life and his art.
From 1859, the year in which he had the opportunity to study attentively the French soldiers, who under the command of Prince Jérôme-Napoléon Bonaparte (born Girolamo Bonaparte), were encamped in the meadows of the Cascine in Florence. From that moment, Fattori devoted himself uninterruptedly to the subject of the soldiers and the harsh living conditions on the battlefields.
The artist sketched the soldiers – marching or in groups – with swift, synthetic strokes in his ever-present notebooks. Later, in his studio, he would rework the images that then came to life as pictorial compositions and etchings which over time became, especially the former, almost a manifesto if not icons of the Risorgimento.
Military life in the graphic of Giovanni Fattori
Gallery of Modern Art, Pitti Palace, Florence
26 May – 10 July 2011
Exhibition curated by Rosanna Morozzi
Exhibition catalogue published by Sillabe (available only in Italian)