Catalogue of the exhibition staged in Florence, Marino Marini Museum, (3 December 2005- 25 March 2006).
The Great War, “the real divide of the 20th century”, was an experience that leaded the artists to the extreme limits of their possibilities. They were trying to shape a series of events which troubled not only every rational ability of understanding but also the rules and the painting conventions, either the traditional or the brand new ones born at the beginning of the 20th century. The massive, industrial and completely far from any human dimension of the First World War bodies and minds’ dreadful slaughter was something so much new and unsayable to dare, and often elude, the expressive possibilities of the figurative artists. Even if the difficulty to translate the disturbing horrors of the war into great works of art was identified as one of the more typical characteristics of the European artists’ relation with the events of those years, the Great War produced, however, a great quantity of images. It is a very etherogenic amount of material, which ranges from the graphical notes took hastily by the soldiers-painters in trench, to the great military art-exhibitions organized to give moral support to the civilian population; from the postcards and the wall posters to the trench journals’ illustrations addressed to the troops; from the newspapers’ satirical and caricatural cartoons to the official photographs steeped in rhetoric and propaganda, and their cinematographic translations; finally, the overcoming of the tragedy and its celebration with cenotaphs and war memorials.
The historic-cultural interest and the aesthetic quality of some figurative documents of the First World War stimulated, in the 90th anniversary of Italy’s entrance in the war, a reflexion of the Italian artists, from Futurism to the post-war period, who confronted with the theme of this war. The catalogue collects also a series of essays that enlarge the perspective up to the expression of the European artists, the cultural history of those years, the interventionist Gabriele D’annunzio and the Great War told by the cinema.
On show the works of Giacomo Balla, Carlo Carrà, Fortunato Depero, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Marino Marini, Plinio Nomellini, Cipriano Efisio Oppo, Ottone Rosai, Mario Sironi, Ardengo Soffici, Lorenzo Viani.
Presentation by Carlo Sisi
Critical essays by Nadia Marchioni, Vincenzo Farinella, Andrea Baldinotti, Umberto Sereni, Pier Marco De Santi