Painters of Light – Italian Journey

Rovereto, Trento, Italy: a Tuesday and one of the best exhibitions my journeys have taken me to!

40mins from Verona, Rovereto is a picturesque town that clearly loves its art and culture.

The Museo d’Arte dear Rovereto-Trentino was a surprise in itself:

This review of the exhibition describes it much better than I can, so is worth a read first.


The way this exhibition guides you chronologically through the impact of Divisionism through to the frenetic Futurists was informative and it also introduced me to a number of artists I had not come across before. The first quote you see from a letter Segantini wrote in 1887 fits beautifully:

If modern art is to have a character it is that seeking light in colour.

The early exponants were inspired by the most advanced scientific research on light and colour and you see this in the works of Segantini, Angelo Morbelli, Baldassare Longoni and, Vittore Grubicy de Dragon, to name a few.  Their works used the divisionist technique, with meticulous brushstrokes combining with the idea of colours complimenting each other, to produce works that glowed on canvas:

The realism of the works, combined with symbolism were ripe for this new technique.  The view of Verona by Longoni, fully embraced the pontillist style and the way in which light is portayed in the Morbelli painting of the patients of the hospice was truly magnificent.  Morbelli was attempting to “illuminate the melancholic passing of time. His works fully embrace that melancholy and he is worth exploring further:

Angelo Morbelli – Italian Divisionist

Of course, Segantini and I have met before at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and also in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. More on him on another day, I think!   This work sits in the realistic realms but is also symbolic.  The old woman returns home at the end of the day, her early tracks in the snow lead her back home again.  This is a task she undertakes daily and represents the relentless pursuit of a living within nature.  Segantini’s depiction of light is stunning and it was here I found out that he used gold and silver filaments in his work.  In this example, the light reflects off the snow due to the dense interweave of silver, blue and white filaments.

This work by Carlo Fornara, who was greatly influenced by Segantini, was one of the standout pieces due to its sheer brilliance of light contasting with the weary figure in the foreground:

L’aquilone (1902-1904)

This ‘revolution of light’ led to the avant-garde movement and with the combined technique of decompostion of forms and the way in which society was moving and changing at a rapid pace, you can see how the Futurists came into being.

The Futurist works that stood out for me were:

The permanent collection will have to wait for its own post, as the works at MART were truly stunning.  So pleased that I was able to get to see such an amazing collection in a beautiful setting, and to make the connections – it’s all starting to make sense now!!


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