Renato Guttuso

1911-1987

The Sicilian painter is one of the most representative of the European last century. He was born in 1911 in Bagheria. The young Renato begins already at the age of thirteen to date and sign his paintings, most of them copies, but there were also original portraits. During his adolescence he attended the studio of the Futurist painter Pippo Rizzo and the artistic circles of Palermo. Feeling a strong inclination to painting, he moved to Palermo for high school and University, while his education is modeled on the european figurative painting, from Courbet, to Van Gogh, to Picasso, in this way he moves to Milan and travel all around Europe.

Back in Palermo, in 1932, together with Noto, Barbera, and Franchina, founded the Group of Four. The group develops a new approach in art, trying to discover the reality of everyday life, with ethical, political and existential issues through a new freedom of expression. A long three-year stay in Milan (1934-1936), allows him to have a good friendship with artists like Birolli, Sassu, Manzù, Fontana with whom he shared a studio.

From 1937 to 1939 lives in Rome; in recent years he become friend with Moravia, Trombadori and Alicata that will have a decisive role in his adhesion to the communist party in 1940.

The painting that gives him the fame is Crucifixion (Crocifissione 1940-41): it will generate a strong controversy by the clergy and the fascist party because under the sacred subject expose the horrors of war. In 1946 Guttuso with some artists and friends, including Birolli, Vedova, Marchiori, Cairola, founded the movement Nuovo Fronte delle Arti, a group of artists very politically engaged.

In 1950 he held his first solo show in London and he is present at the Venice Biennale of 1952-1954-1956. Between 1957 and 1965 collaborates with the most important italian and international magazines writings about theory and art criticism.

In 1966 he realizes the great cycle of the autobiography. In 1983 he painted a chapel of Sacromonte in Varese with the “Flight into Egypt”. In 1985 he painted the whole vault (more than 120 square meters of painting, a monumental work) Messina’s lyric theatre Vittorio Emanuele, representing the legend of Cola Pesce. He died in 1987.

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