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Tra Oltralpe e Mediterraneo

Arte in Italia 1860–1915

Manuel Carrera, Niccolò D'Agati and Sarah Kinzel

La grande sfida dell’arte italiana tra l’Unità e la Prima guerra mondiale è quella di creare uno stile nazionale competitivo e riconoscibile a livello europeo. Il volume intende indagare gli sviluppi artistici italiani nei loro rapporti internazionali Tra Oltralpe e Mediterraneo mettendo in rilievo il ruolo di cerniera giocato dall’Italia nell’Europa del tempo, sia dal punto di vista geografico, sia culturale. I singoli casi di studio indagano l’aggiornamento di artisti, critici e amatori d’arte italiani verso la contemporanea scena artistica europea, cercando di creare contatti con i colleghi stranieri dall’Inghilterra alla Turchia, dalla Scandinavia alla Spagna. Ne emerge una più complessa trama di rapporti nella quale, più che l’influsso, domina lo scambio.

Nach der Staatsgründung 1861 sahen sich italienische Künstler mit der Herausforderung konfrontiert, eine eigenständige und auf europäischer Ebene wettbewerbsfähige Formsprache zu entwickeln. Der Band thematisiert den künstlerischen Wandel in Italien im Spiegel seiner internationalen Beziehungen von Nordeuropa bis zum Mittelmeerraum. Sowohl in geografischer als auch in kultureller Hinsicht kommt dem Land dabei eine Schlüsselposition innerhalb Europas zu. Fallstudien untersuchen, wie italienische Künstler, Kritiker und Kunstliebhaber sich über aktuelle künstlerische Entwicklungen jenseits der Landesgrenzen auf dem Laufenden hielten und Kontakte mit Kollegen von England bis zur Türkei und von Skandinavien bis nach Spanien knüpften. Die Ergebnisse dieser Recherchen zeichnen ein komplexeres Bild der italienisch-europäischen Beziehungen, die weniger von einseitiger Beeinflussung als vielmehr von einem wechselseitigen Austausch geprägt waren.

After the unification in 1861 the creation of a national art, unique and competitive at a European level, represented a major challenge for Italian artists. This volume analyses artistic developments in Italy with regard to their international relations from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean. In the late 19th century Italy held a key position both from a geographical and from a cultural perspective. Case studies demonstrate how Italian artists, critics and art lovers kept themselves up-to-date about current artistic developments in Europe trying to stay in touch with colleagues from England to Turkey and from Scandinavia to Spain. The results of this research paint a more vivid picture of the Italian–European relationship that was less characterised by one-sided influences than by a mutual exchange, thus benefiting both sides.

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Nino Costa – A cosmopolitan artist and advocate for a national art

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Can national art benefit from cosmopolitanism or do foreign sources of inspiration harm the coherence of a cultural profile? These questions were much debated in the nineteenth century, an age of nation building and increasing globalization. In this period, artists, critics, and, to a certain extent, politicians were discussing various definitions of nationalism and cosmopolitanism and whether or not artists ought to adopt international approaches and practices. In 1902, for example, “The Art Journal” published: “Cosmopolitan Art. A Friendly Dispute between Mr Selwyn Image and Mr Lewis F. Day”2. This article, recording a debate between two renowned English artist-craftsmen, reveals the degree to which opinions on the matter were polarized at the turn of the century. Image emphasized the importance of local traditions and individuality for the creation of a ‘sound art’ and warned of the loss of authenticity if artists did not focus on their own country and tradition3. While Day agreed with Image that art represents individual expression, he then countered him in saying that an artist should however rise above mere ‘parochialism’. Day further stated that: “national characteristics are in us” and will come out regardless of whether or not artists look across national boundaries for inspiration. He rather felt it was crucial for the development of a meaningful art that the artist also be “open to impressions from all round, and far beyond the country where he was born”. In support of Day’s argument is the work of ← 119 | 120 → Nino Costa...

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