The Pinacoteca Cantonale Giovanni Züst in Rancate dedicates a major exhibition to Luigi Rossi (1853-1923) on the centenary of his death, presenting his most famous works from Swiss and Italian museums as well as numerous unpublished works from private collections.
A European artist between reality and symbol - brilliant painter, refined illustrator, democratic educator - Luigi Rossi presents his sincere art in a friendly manner: the identity of his work, cultured and spontaneous, is at once Swiss, Milanese and Parisian. The young artist's training took place at the Brera Academy in Milan. In his debut, the artist painted genre scenes between irony and melancholy, in the tradition of sentimental verism of the Lombard school.
Rossi soberly executed a gallery of portraits of childhood and patrons, always deep in the psychological rendering of the subject, such as those of Daudet, Battaglini and his wife Adele.
In 1885, he went to Paris where he enjoyed a happy season as an illustrator of successful books, in particular of Alphonse Daudet and Pierre Loti, with whom he became close friends.
On his return to Milan and Ticino, he established himself as a painter who moved from the translation of reality in the direction of the Symbolist idea. The 1990s saw the creation of major paintings such as L'Armée du travail, linked to life in the fields, and Rêves de Jeunesse, his Symbolist masterpiece that prompted a poem by Gian Pietro Lucini.
In the early 20th century, Rossi devoted himself to his cherished theme of childhood through an affectionate sequence of portraits of his daughter Gina Maria. The revival of motifs linked to his stays in Sicily and on the shores of the French Atlantic dates back to the same period.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the artist's work accommodates with measure refined decorative elements of Art Nouveau style and deep social sensitivity that reflect his aesthetic taste and his commitment to the Humanitarian Schools in Milan and to the pacifist sheets.
During the 1910s, Luigi Rossi executed valuable watercolours in which the freshness of the Parisian illustrations was renewed. Symbolist masterpieces such as Canto dell'Aurora and Arcobaleno, which feature the light of the Denti della Vecchia mountain, were born in these years. The artist died at the age of seventy in his beloved region of Capriasca, in Canton Ticino, the scene of the landscapes of his last period.
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