Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Guglielmo Ciardi, Conca di Sappada con le Terze

Guglielmo Ciardi, Conca di Sappada con le Terze, 1897
14.2 x 22 in.

Guglielmo Ciardi (1842-1917) was an Italian painter and a friend of the Macchiaioli painters, although he was never a member of the group.  Born in Venice, Ciardi studied at the Venice Academy of Fine Arts, where he particularly excelled in landscape painting.  Many of his works were traditional Venetian style views of the city and its canals.  However he also explored more uncommon viewpoints and created beautiful and unusual depictions of the waterways of Venice. As his career continued, Ciardi continued to develop his own perspective and grow more modern in his rendering of Italy.  Conca di Sappada con le Terze shows a clear influence of Impressionism and the Macchiaioli.  This landscape is quite unusual, combining these modern techniques with traditional Italian landscapes.  Perhaps the most striking feature of the painting is the very large brushstrokes; we can discern Ciardi's every gesture and he invites us to see how these individual brushstrokes come together to form the whole scene.  This technique was likely the influence of Cezanne and prefigures the development of Cubism.  Ciardi's color in this painting is perhaps somewhat unrealistic in the brightness of the greens and the particular hue of the mountain, but perfectly evokes the feelings of the scene he is depicting.  We feel the openness of the space and the brightness of nature.  As the clouds swirl around the mountain we can feel the breeze blowing through the valley.  This is an extremely lively painting that has quite a lot of movement, considering that nothing in the scene is in motion.  While those large brushstrokes and bright colors result in a painting that is quite abstracted, the subject of the scene is clearly portrayed and the atmosphere of the painting is effective and powerful.

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