From Romanticism to Divisionism: the collection of textile industrialist Guido Rossi.

The textile industrialist Guido Rossi left his art collection to the Museum in 1957. Made up of 109 paintings and 15 sculptures, it expresses the irrepressibility of Lombardy's significant entrepreneurial bourgeoisie, who embraced collecting works of art as one of the main ways to climb the social ladder and gain recognition.

bacco fanciullo by antonio manciniNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Rossi began acquiring paintings in around 1913. Over the years, he built up a substantial selection that amply represented all the most important Italian schools of the second half of the 19th century. Among them, the Neapolitan Realist school and Southern Italian artists are particularly well-represented. The collection’s paintings by Filippo Palizzi and Francesco Paolo Michetti are highly prized, as is the set of works by Antonio Mancini. This includes numerous portraits, including some depicting the children of Naples at its most picturesque, as in "Young Bacchus".

La processione (1893/1895) by Giuseppe Pellizza da VolpedoNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

The works of Lombard and Piedmontese artists range from the Romanticism of Luigi Bisi to the naturalistic landscapes of Filippo Carcano with his "Prealpi Bergamasche" (Bergamasque Prealps). Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo is also represented in the collection, which features four of his works from the pre-Divisionist period, including "Ritratto di Giuseppe Giani" (Portrait of Giuseppe Giani) and three still life paintings entitled "La Carne" (Meat), "Mele e Uva" (Apples and Grapes), and "L'Appeso" (The Hanging Bird), as well as the Divisionist masterpiece "La Processione" (The Procession). The paintings by Carlo Fornara, a Divisionist painter and personal friend of Guido Rossi, stand out for their substance.

Campagna Romana (1879/1881) by Giovanni FattoriNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

The Tuscan Macchiaioli group is also represented, albeit briefly, by two masterpieces: "Campagna Romana" (Roman Countryside) by Giovanni Fattori and "I Fidanzati" (The Fiancés) by Silvestro Lega.

Interno della Chiesa di Brou a Broug-en-Bresse. Interno della chiesa di San Nicola da Tolentino (1842) by Luigi BisiNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Interno della Chiesa di Brou a Bourg-en-Bresse (Interior of the Brou Church in Bourg-en-Bresse) - Luigi Bisi
In the exquisitely detailed church choir, we see the tomb of Margaret of Parma on the right and that of Philibert II in the center, while the tomb of Margaret of Bourbon can be glimpsed on the far left.

Prelapi bergamasche (1895) by Filippo CarcanoNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Prealpi Bergamasche (Bergamasque Prealps) - Filippo Carcano

This relined painting is well-preserved despite small amounts of paint having flaked off in places. The work retains its period frame. It is related to other Lombard "vedute" (landscapes) with a similar style and structure such as Lake Iseo, the Lombard Plain, Marina, and the Cambrena Glacier, all painted during the same period.

This work is one of the most significant achievements of Carcano's career as a landscape painter due to its wide reach, sound perspective and sophisticated technique. The canvas is left visible in places, with its white preparation recreating the play of light on the snow-capped peaks of the distant mountains.

Campagna Romana (1879/1881) by Giovanni FattoriNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Campagna Romana (Roman Countryside) - Giovanni Fattori
Dario Durbè highlighted this work as the most demanding of Fattori's surviving impressions of his Roman journey. This painting displays the artist's ability to synthesize, as seen in the simplicity of the composition, the solidity of its structure and the slow and rhythmic cadence of the lines.

Ultimi pascoli (1905) by Carlo FornaraNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Ultimi Pascoli (Last Pastures) - Carlo Fornara

This work, which is well-preserved, was painted on a deep pink background. This accentuates the cold light of the canvas, rebalancing the almost acid tones of the palette. The painting is a testament to the level reached by Fornara's art during his years of adhering closely to Divisionism. It is also notable for its consistent and precise application of the Divisionist technique, resulting in intense brightness and meticulous spatial articulation.

The influence of Segantini is clear in the cold light and a technique whereby the painting's apparent naturalism is hardened through the abstraction of its strokes.

Vespero di marzo (1905/1909) by Carlo FornaraNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Vespero di Marzo (A March Evening) - Carlo Fornara

Raffaele Calzini, Valsecchi and Vercellotti date this painting to 1905. Likewise, the Divisionism Archives suggest a similar but less precisely defined period ranging from 1905 to 1909. There is evidence to support this theory: the resonance with contemporary works and the descriptive precision of the Divisionist technique, which is here molded to create a softer light than that seen in works such as "Ultimi Pascoli" (Last Pastures) from 1905.

I fidanzati (1869) by Silvestro LegaNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

I Fidanzati (The Fiancés) - Silvestro Lega

This scene's melancholy tone lays bare a period of personal concern for the painter. His partner, Virginia Batelli, was ill with tuberculosis and would die the following year, while his sister Maria Delfina had passed away in 1867. The two protagonists with carefully hidden faces have been identified as Isolina Cecchini and Giuseppe Sacchetti. Lega attended their wedding on January 15, 1870.

Lega reproduced the left section of the composition, featuring the two fiancés, in a panel painted shortly after, adding a few modifications, especially to the landscape. It is now in a private collection.

guardando la madonna by antonio manciniNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Guardando la Madonna (Looking at the Madonna) - Antonio Mancini

Small oil painting by Antonio Mancini depicting a boy in a white shirt, black trousers, and suspenders. He is seen from behind in church.

bacco fanciullo by antonio manciniNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Bacco Fanciullo (Young Bacchus) - Antonio Mancini
Medium-sized oil painting depicting a youth half-length, facing the viewer. He has the features of Bacchus: vine leaves in his hair and coiled around the stick that he holds sideways.

la nidiata by paolo francesco michettiNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

La Nidiata (The Brood) - Francesco Paolo Michetti

Dated 1873, "La Nidiata" (The Brood) is one of the best examples of Michetti's painting from the early '70s, where the influence of Palizzi's realism filters into scenes that hover between idyll and folklore, mainly set in the Abruzzo countryside.

In terms of technique, the work is similar to "La Raccolta delle Zucche" (The Pumpkin Harvest) exhibited at the Salon of 1872; its frayed, blurred brushstrokes and brilliant color contrasts reveal the influence of Mariano Fortuny’s work.

All'abbeverata. Scena pastorale. Meriggio. Gruppo di capre e fanciulli (1867) by Filippo PalizziNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

All'Abbeverata (To the Watering Hole) - Filippo Palizzi

This superb painting is extremely luminous, with careful attention to the way in which different materials react to light. This leads to moments of virtuosity, such as the reflections on the surface of the pond. For this reason, it was a hit at exhibitions: in 1930, it was sent to the 19th-century exhibition held in Rome by the Società Amatori e Cultori, while in 1949 it was shown at the 19th-century Italian painting exhibition in New York.

Palizzi reworks previous compositions in this painting. While the donkey is found in various works, the group in the center with the shepherdess leading her calf is faithfully reproduced from the 1859 "Vitellino Condotto a Bere" (Calf Led to Water) (Rome, National Gallery of Modern Art).

Tramonto (1858) by Filippo PalizziNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Tramonto (Sunset) - Filippo Palizzi
This work is noted for its high-quality execution and its meticulous study of the sunset's light, which reflects off the skin of the two youths and the coats of the animals, all rendered with astonishing realism.

Carovana in Persia (1887) by Alberto PasiniNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Carovana in Persia (Caravan in Persia) - Alberto Pasini
Small oil painting depicting a mountainous landscape and a winding road. A caravan made up of men on horseback and colorful canopies travels along it.

Il mediatore Giuseppe Giani (1891) by Giuseppe Pellizza da VolpedoNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Il Mediatore Giuseppe Giani (The Mediator Giuseppe Giani) - Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo

This painting shows the level of Pellizza's studies in the years leading up to his conversion to Divisionism, with which he came into contact at the Triennale of 1891 where he submitted "Il Mediatore" (The Mediator). In particular, it reveals the influence of Cesare Tallone, his teacher at the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, in its coarsely realist inspiration and loose brushstrokes. Nevertheless, Pellizza's work displays greater solidity than his master's and also employs a more severe color palette characterized by the dull tones of the surfaces, from the brown of the suit to the white of the plastered wall, enlivened by a dash of color in the man's tie.

At the same time, the simplicity of the man's position, seated with his hands on his knees, is accentuated by the composition's robust structure, which places the figure solidly in the space, accentuating its volume.

mele e uva by giuseppe pellizzia da volpedoNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Mele e Uva (Apples and Grapes) - Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo

Although small, the canvas shows great formal rigor, with a geometric volume that imparts a strict sense of perspective to this still life against the white of the tablecloth, modulated by yellows and ochers.

La processione (1893/1895) by Giuseppe Pellizza da VolpedoNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

La Processione (The Procession) - Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo

A fundamental painting in Pellizza da Volpedo's body of work and one of the most important in Guido Rossi's collection, "La Processione" (The Procession) drew the attention of critics at the Venice Biennale. Neera saw it as striking the perfect balance between the study of reality and idealized thought, an equilibrium that underpins Pellizza's work. Writing in the Corriere della Sera, Gustavo Macchi focused on the painting's intense lighting effects, while Vittorio Pica also emphasized Pellizza's poetic and mystical tone, perfectly aligned with international Symbolism.

Despite being a life study set in a street in Volpedo's hometown, the painting shows the ideals of spirituality and harmony between man and nature. This is achieved through the study of light with the application of the rich and meticulous Divisionist technique.

la carne by giuseppe pellizzia da volpedoNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

La Carne (Meat) - Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo

This painting heavily simplifies the geometry of its subject, examining the contrasts between the deep red of the meat and the white of the tablecloth, which unravels into light, earthy tones. The work substitutes the vibrant still lifes of the artist's contemporaries, Segantini and Tallone, for a solid compositional construction.

L'appeso. Il pollo morto (1890/1893) by Giuseppe Pellizza da VolpedoNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

L'Appeso (The Hanging Bird) - Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo

This painting was seemingly done with rapid brushstrokes, so much so that it was exhibited as a sketch in Florence. In reality, careful attention is paid to the effects of light and reflection. The bird's plumage is characterized by blue tones which frame the cold brilliance of the white feathers, heightened by touches of divided color.

The brushstrokes are softer in places (as in the feathers) and richer and more textured in others (the tied feet). The wall, meanwhile, is rendered rapidly and concisely, with the whites depicting the plastering and streaks of a limewashed wall.

Pastura in montagna (1883) by Giuseppe RaggioNational Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci

Pastura in Montagna (Mountain Pasture) - Giuseppe Raggio
Medium-sized oil painting depicting a young shepherd with a flock of sheep and a dog in front of a cone-shaped tent on a grassy knoll.

Credits: Story

Exhibition by
Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia
Leonardo da Vinci

Via San Vittore 21
Milano
Italy

www.museoscienza.org/english/

Credits: All media
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