DE NITTIS. Painter of modern life

Promoted and produced by Palazzo Reale, Municipality of Milan-Cultura and CMS.Cultura

DE NITTIS. Painter of modern life

Palazzo Reale, Milan

24 February 30 June 2024

Curated by Fernando Mazzocca and Paola Zatti

For the first time Palazzo Reale celebrates the talent of Giuseppe De Nittis in a monographic exhibition curate by Fernando Mazzocca and Paola Zatti. DE NITTIS. Painter of modern life is a Palazzo Reale/Municipality of Milan-Cultura and CMS.Cultura exhibition and presents around 90 paintings, oils and pastels, from the main public and private collections, Italian and foreign, including the Musée d’Orsay and the Petit Palais in Paris, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Reims and Dunkerke, the Uffizi in Florence – just to name a few – in addition to the extraordinary nucleus of works preserved at the GAM in Milan and a selection from the Pinacoteca of Barletta, named after the Painter, which it preserves an exceptional number of them following the bequest of the widow Léontine De Nittis.

The consecration of Giuseppe De Nittis as one of the great protagonists of nineteenth-century European painting occurred thanks to the exhibition success he enjoyed starting from the magnificent retrospective dedicated to him in 1914 by the XI Venice Biennale. Other fundamental stages were the exhibition Giuseppe De Nittis. The modernity élégante set up in Paris at the Petit Palais in 2010-11, and in 2013 the fundamental monographic dedicated to him in Padua at Palazzo Zabarella.

DE NITTIS. Painter of modern life aims to enhance the international stature of a painter who was, together with Boldini, the greatest of the Italians in Paris, where he managed to stand comparison with Manet, Degas and the Impressionists, with whom he was able to share, despite the diversity of the pictorial language, the aspiration to revolutionize the very idea of painting, once and for all dismantling the hierarchy of genres to achieve that autonomy of art which has been the greatest aspiration of modernity.

The French painters and De Nittis, who has always felt profoundly Parisian by adoption, have addressed the same themes, including the landscape, the portrait and the representation of modern life that De Nittis was able to capture along the streets of the two metropolises he frequented, at the time great European art capitals: Paris and London. He was able to represent, together with the two metropolises, in an extraordinary en plein air technique, the privileged places of the mythology of modernity, which will be placed at the center of an exhibition itinerary that develops over a period of twenty years, from 1864 to 1884, reconstructing an absolutely extraordinary pictorial adventure, which ended prematurely with the artist’s death at just 38 years of age.

The results he achieved are due to his innate genius, his ability to compare himself with the major artists of his time, his intellectual curiosity and his openness to other languages. He is also among the artists of the time who best knew how to measure himself with the Japanese painting that had become fashionable at the time.

All this will be underlined by the exhibition enriched by a short film, edited by Livia Ficoroni with Micol Forti, which – through extracts from the young De Nittis’ diary and from correspondence with prominent figures of the time, and, again, comparisons between historical photographs, masterpieces of the Apulian painter’s production and works by the major artists of his time such as those of his friends Manet, Degas, Caillebotte – highlights that relationship of glances, meetings and exchanges that made the ville lumière in the second half of the ‘Nineteenth century the center of art, literature and culture of Europe.

SilvanaEditoriale catalogue

TAG: Exhibition