The colors of the Sicily

Libreria Grifasi. Sicilians' Painters, Sculpturs and Architects Libreria Grifasi.

With this review of Sicilian artists, I will not tell you about Sicilian school, but of the one which, out of the artistic places, diffused the sensibility and the spirit of the people so it gave, an original and deep interpretation of the Isle that only the love of who is born in Sicily can give.
         In each epoch artists of other countries arrived in Sicily, they have notably influenced the local art; so between the many less notable, there also are artists which are both universal and Sicilian too. That's why I find opportune to remember them so it will be useful not only a new admiration will come out for some noble figures of artists quite known, but also to correct hasty or superficial judgements  around masterpieces of deep humanity and of undisputed beauty.
The first representative of the Sicilian painting is Antonello da Messina, born toward the 1430 and dead in 1479. He could be considered the most original and celebrated painter of the fourth Century, he studied the Flemish tradition. Although the few biographical facts and the way he held his intercourses with the others artistic centers of the peninsula, it is out of doubtful that he also resided at Milan and at Venice, and his art,  was ahead of time of the other most famous Italian painters, he notably influenced  the greater painters of the time, in Lombardy, in Veneto and in Emilia. Also if what the Vasari affirms isn't true (Antonello was the first to use the oil painting in Italy), it's undoubtedly a fact that he has been the first one to diffusing and giving an accent to the Flemish technique.An Artist of big emotionalism and of extraordinary  power, beyond that interpreted notably nature nature, he knew it and often overcomed it.  Of his art there are some immortal documents: the Christ  benedicente of the National Gallery in London, the San  Sebastiano of Dresda, the Lady of Messina, and the picture of the Annunciazione that is exposed in the Museum at Siracusa.
After Antonello in order of time and for strength expressive, there come Pietro Novelli born at Monreale in  1603 by Pietro Antonio and dead at Palermo in the 1647. His juvenile art was inspired at the beginning to the school of Rafael, (as his Jesus between Maria and  Sant'Anna in the museum of the Benedettini in Catania), then he soon oriented toward that of the brown and nervous Van Dych (so much fallen in love with Sicily), so there are explained the changments of tone and colour.
The art of the mature Novelli, who has already taken contact with the Roman and Neapolitan environments and it can be seen again the influence of the Ribera, it becomes more emotional, of a more ample breath, varied in the types but always characteristic and personal in the wide paintings and in the vivacity of the shades, like they prove in The vocation of Mattia to Leonforte that he engaged in Ragusa and the St. Benedetto blessing the breads in Monreale.
  The six hundred also had notable painters in Sicily, worthy of being remembered. The names of Olivio Sozzi and Pietro Paolo Vasta are enough to evoke wizards of frescos from the rapid and sure execution, that reveals the truth (also if not fortunate) artists. The eight hundred Sicilian boasts Giuseppe Sciuti, born at Zafferana Etnea in 1834 and dead in Rome in 1911. He called back noisy historical scenes and he possessed the sense of the scenography and the taste of the violent colour that countersigns the Eight hundred Neapolitan, (we remember the curtain of the Teatro Massimo at Catania, Píndaro who exalts a winner at the Olympic Games, the funerals of Timoleone, etc.). But  today his naked, his architectural masses,  his scary skies and his skilled effects] of light and of  reliefs tell us less than once they said, also if the Sciuti still remains the painter of the crowds, inspired to  the great ancient Romans.
        Another representative of the Neapolitan school was Paolo Vetri, disciple and related to  Domenico  Morelli. He was born at Enna in 1855 and died at Naples in 1937. He left suggestive frescos in many churches of Sicily and of the continent. They deserve to be remembered : Maternal pain  (exposed at Berlin), a pastoral Scene (exposed  at London), Zingara (exposed at Venice). He teached for 30 years in the Institute of the Belle Arti in Naples and he wrote on the theory of the vision and of the  perspective.  We mustn't forget the painters from catania, Rapisardi, Gandolfo, Attanasio and Orobona; and also Paladino, Vaccaro, Di Bella, De Bartolo, Reina,  Liotta, Guzzone, Patania, artists who lived in a  period of sentimental reality and of declamatory paintings, they couldn't subtract  to the fashion of the time, but they  sang the earth and the people from Sicily with an inspired heart. And we will remember here ,with  particular attnetion, Zenone Lavagna, who died still young but leave us what his talent had promise, and Antonio Barbera died  at twenty, strange and ardent  boy who did a continuous fable of his life beautiful. The sketches he left are exactly lightnings of an unusual creative activity, disdainful of showing interests to the work and pay; he usually enjoyed like living in a dream his own visions of beauty. The supremacy of the Sicilian sculpture is up to Antonello Gagini (1478-1536), who, helped by his children Antonio, Fazio, Giovanni and Vincenzo, sculptors exempt, he held, we could tell, the artistical monopoly of his time and he did front to an exorbitant  number of charges. His community job couldn't help him, surely; but to the eyes of the competent is not difficult to distinguish the work of shop from that which they got out of the hands of Antonello. The grace and the deliciousness of his executions are really distinguished. Prodigious the beautiful thoughtful heads of the Virgo, like that of the Lady of the Staircase in Palermo and the other of the Announced in Bronte; and admirable the San Baptist Giovanni of Castelvetrano and the Crucifix of  Alcamo. What to say about the monument to the cardinal Paternò Castello? The big figure of the Prelate expanse on the sepulchral stone has a mask of such an effective and sever beauty, that the subject seems almost disappeared and there are dismays in front of  to the mystery of the death. Also fertile and untiring was the Palermitan Giacomo Serpotta (1656-1732). he is between the bigger artists of his century,and he's, doubtless,the best representative of stuccoes. With his work in marble and in bronze, described with admiration by the chronicles of those times, nothing remains anymore; but of his plasters, in which he presents himself as an insuperable delicious and uninhibited modeler,  we have a wide documentation in churches and oratorical of Palermo; and they (he have adorned or angels or  belles and allegorical figures muliebri) they testify the exuberance and the big fertility and ingeniousness of the Serpotta, nobody in the decoration has never known how to make as him « the poetry of the infancy in that fool of children represented in each joke, in each play, in each expression of cheerfulness and of ingenuity».
Another great sculptor was Domenico Trentacoste, born at Palermo in 1859 and dead at Florence in 1933. He lived for quite a lot of time at Paris, where he became noticed for his Testa di Vecchio. Both in France as in Italy he dedicated a lot of of his life to the portrait; but  his better personality reveals himself in the jobs of imagination, all veined of melancholy torment. His Seminatore, exposed to the biennial exhibition in Venezia in 1903, made him being part of the modernist of vanguard. In his maturity the art of the Trentacoste orient him toward a  formal perfection and a sense of serene beauty that  he marked more in his most meaningful work: Ofelia, The abandoned, Pious of the Tolomei, concentration, you dormente, St. Francesco. Our architecture is rich of names , so it appears famous until the four hundred. In fact in the century  XV° Matteo Carnelivarí from Noto lived, the Abbatelli palace and Aiutamicristo and the church of the Chain in Palermo are assigned him by the experts. Of vigorous style and airy whole, he was able to melt the picturesque Gothic Spanish with the Palermo's architecture of the three hundred, mixing with originality different arcades and eccentric decorations and complicated ones. To the XVII century also belong the two Amato:
Paolo (born at Ciminna in 1634 and dead at  Palermo in 1714) and Giacomo, clergyman regulate, from Palermo (1643-1732). 
Of Giacomo is the Church of the Pity; of Paolo are worth to be not forget: the Church of the Saviour, the decorations inside the Chapel of Saint Lucy, the door of the Church of Valverde and the fountain of the Garraffo.
Of a little time before is the incisor and architect Filippo Juvarra from Messina (1676-1736).  He studied at Rome under Carlo Fontana and was inspired, more than the art of the Bernini, to the baroque architecture of the Borromini. He spent his life at Lucca and at Florence, but he worked for a long time in Turin, where he had quite a lot  charges from King Vittorio Amedeo II°. 
You performed the sketch of the Cathedral of Lisbona and then, with an invitation of Phillip V from Spain, he approached to Madrid, where one  he died as soon as completed  the plan of the Real Palace.
  Of the prodigious fertility juvaresca has (without counting' the innumerable decorative work,  especially in altars) many and famous monuments, between which we quote the Seminar from Turin, the palace of the Senate, the church of Saint Cross, the admirable  sketches and decorations of the Villa of Venaria, the castle of Rivulets, the Richa palace of Covasolo and those jewels of art that are the façade of the Palace  Madam to Rome and the outside of the basilica of Superga, near Turin.
I finish this small review of artists with the name of Giovanni Battista Vaccarini, born at  Palermo in the 1702 and dead at Milazzo in the 1768. To him, what a endeavored for the reconstruction of Catania, tragically upset from the earthquake of the 1693, they won't ever be fairly thankful the people of Catania, the Vaccarini big architect built and lived at Catania and in which, through many years of intense job, so much bore sketches of palaces,  of churches, of villas, of cloisters, that adorned the renascent city, like Abbey of Sant'Agata, of Almo Study, the fountain of the Elephant, the Church of St. Giuliano and the harmonious court of the College Cutelli

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July 26 1999 and it is work of:
Mario Grifasi
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