The artist's kitchen garden, near Colma di Rosignano, Monferrato
signed 'Morbelli' (lower left)
oil on canvas
14 x 21 5/8 in. (35.5 x 52.4 cm.)
Angelo Morbelli is one of the six leading exponents of Italian Divisionism (the others being Giovanni Segantini, Guiseppe Pellizza, Gaetano Previati, Emilio Longoni and Vittore Grubicy). Despite oft-cited parallels with French Post-Impressionsm, in particular the pointillist artists Paul Signac and Georges Seurat, Divisionism developed in Milan quite independently of the French movement. However both schools share an emphasis on the importance of the optical effects of colour. Thus, when touches of paint are applied side by side to the canvas 'divisionistically' as pure unmixed colour, the colours achieve greater luminosity and brilliance in the eye of the spectator.
Morbelli studied at the Accademia di Brera in Milan from 1867 to 1876 under Raffaele Casnedi and Giuseppe Bertini, while also revealing in his history paintings the influential reach of Francesco Hayez, who had also taught at the same art school. By the early 1890s, he followed the lead of Segantini and Previati in employing the new technique, characterised by a lighter palette and a more painterly finish, which eventually led him to an intensive study of the colour theory principles so necessary to the mastery of Divisionism.
The present work is one of a number of landscapes painted over a period of twenty years close to the artist's summer residence in Colma di Rosignano near Monferrato in Piedmont. Here, Morbelli's interest lies not only in perfecting his technical virtuosity, but also in the compositional structure itself. These landscapes show him experimenting frequently with diagonals to define and set against each other the foregrounds, the middle grounds and the backgrounds. In the present work Morbelli even deploys different techniques in the various areas of the compositional scheme. The broad, solid treatment of the field of pumpkins in the foreground contrasts with the detailed, divisionistic handling of the background, which perfectly reproduces the shimmering light of a hot summer day.
The authenticity of the present work has been confirmed by Giovanni Anzani.
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