The Galleria Russo in Rome hosts the anthological exhibition of Carlo Levi, curated by the Carlo Levi Foundation which, by the explicit will of the artist, has since 1976 promoted studies on the overall work of the most influential and acute painter, writer and thinker of our twentieth century. This extensive retrospective, organized in concert with the Levi Foundation in the run-up to the fortieth anniversary of the artist’s death and more than twenty years after his last Roman exhibition at Palazzo Venezia, strengthens the long association that Carlo Levi had in the past with the Russo family.
The exhibition itinerary focuses on the master’s pictorial history and – as Daniela Fonti, President of the Levi Foundation explains: “favors some lesser-known moments of Levi’s production. It opens with a group of paintings made within the third decade of the twentieth century, in which the metaphysical tension of Casorati’s ancestry is colored by a suffused lyricism tempered by evident moral tension (…). Starting from the early Thirties, Levi’s painting begins to be characterized, contrary to the dictates of the regime, by a “wavy brushstroke” that reflects the expressive tension and flakes the contours of the figures, canceling out the environmental details. Finally, the paintings of the 1940s, crossed by the clandestine struggle and the war, and characterized, in the theses portrayed as in the leaden still lifes, by a renewed moral tension that loosened in the following decades to arrive at a more relaxed relationship with nature and with history.”
More than seventy works on display – including five unpublished works (Madre che cuce 1929, Seated Self-portrait 1934, Female Nude 1934, Crouching Female Nude 1937, Landscape with Cow 1960) – which tell the most important issues addressed by Levi in his vast production pictorial reflecting in portraits as well as self-portraits, nudes as well as landscapes, the spirit of those years and the dense network of loves, relationships and friendships, which the anti-fascist Levi – one of the highest voices in the Italian context of the first half of Twentieth century, as Fabio Benzi points out in the critical text in the catalog – he entertained with the international diaspora.
Texts in the catalog by Daniela Fonti, Fabio Benzi and Antonella Lavorgna.