Portraits, scenes of everyday life, light, macchiaioli and impressionists, landscape paintings by the Ciardi family, historicism, and sculptural realism.
This section showcases the vision of artists diverse by age, training, and idiom to create a compelling dialogue between the many spirits of this complex century: the leading names still espousing the neo-Classical or the Romantic tradition are seen alongside the new generations who drew their inspiration from the Fine Arts Academy in Venice; others were self-taught, opting for the naturalistic approach, privileging popular subjects, and revealing a renewed interest in landscape painting.
Surprising, poetic, and well-represented, with many pieces acquired or bequeathed thanks to the generosity of Teresita Lorenzon, Luigi Serena (1855–1911) plays a key role. His unexpected sense of irony can be seen in his witty self-portrait as a young man. Meanwhile, in the room entitled Vita dal vero (Life from Life), he effects a skilful jump back in time so we can almost smell and taste Treviso city life among its working-class characters, recreating scenes from everyday life, demonstrating exquisite skills in composition and use of light.
We move on to work by Giovanni Apollonio (1879-1930). An intimate piece, entitled After Lunch at La Moncia (Dopo pranzo alla Moncia), which was a trattoria out of town, shows his friend, the Contessa Sofia Moresco Félissent as she unself-consciously smokes a cigarette. The table, meanwhile, is evocative of Manet’s still-lifes.
Vittore Cargnel (1872-1931), was an attentive observer and interpreter of the light, while also being interested in experimenting with the innovative techniques of the Machiaioli painters, who privileged spots or patches of pure colour. Cargnel recasts the nineteenth-century tradition in his landscapes, while paying close attention to the insights furnished by the Impressionists, one example being his View of Venice at sunset (Veduta veneziana all’ora del tramonto).
Next we explore the fascinating history of the Ciardi family of artists, this room being named for them. There’s Guglielmo Ciardi (1842–1917), his children Beppe (Giuseppe,1875–1932)) and daughter Emma (1879–1933), who were all leading figures in the naturalist landscape painting tradition, as exemplified by the works entitled Sails in the Laguna (Vele in laguna), The straw-harvest (La fienagione), and the River Sile at Morgano (Il Sile a Morgano).
We also have the chance to experience the three-dimensional plastic arts in the section of the museum dedicated to sculpture. Both Luigi Borro (1826–1880) and Antonio Carlini take their inspiration from the same sources that forged Arturo Martini’s artistic personality. Their works bring to a close this section while leading us into the next, which is dedicated to Martini’s formative years.