Owing to the quality of his painting, his highly original development, the similarity with the works of other artists close to him or with contemporaries, the Venetian Giacomo Favretto (1849-1887) is one of the most important masters of the Italian Nineteenth century.
A true “innovator” of the Venetian school during the second half of the century, he both revived and modernised the unique aspects of great Veneto tradition – from Longhi to Tiepolo – that had been abandoned in the first half of the Nineteenth century in favour of paintings of history and landscape.
In his short but intense career, Favretto was to become a hugely successful painter. He died prematurely in 1887, leaving unfinished on his easel Modern Stroll that might have represented a possible Venetian form of the most modern international trends although it was not until 1895 that the Biennale was to be founded in Venice.
This is the first modern day exhibition to be dedicated to Favretto since 1899. Co-produced with the Chiostro del Bramante in Rome as is only right, it has also come to Venice as a more extensive edition with outstanding unpublished works.
There are around eighty works on display. They include the entire range of Favretto’s artistic production, presenting masterpieces that once belonged to the collections of the King of Italy and remarkable works that were, until now, unknown to the public, from museums or private collections. However, the exhibition also pays particular attention to Favretto’s relations and comparisons with other protagonists of Veneto painting during that period, including Ettore Tito, Alessandro Milesi, Guglielmo Ciardi, Luigi Nono …..
Exhibition and catalogue (Silvana Editoriale) curated by Paolo Serafini with introduction by Giandomenico Romanelli and essays by Giorgio Busetto, Eszter Csillag, Carlos Gonzàlez Lòpez, Paul Nicholls, Elisabetta Palminteri Matteucci, Paolo Serafini. Silvia Bordini and Orietta Rossi Pinelli are also on the scientific board.
The exihibition covers every stage of the artist’s creative development: from his beginnings at the Venice Academy of Fine Arts (the originality of his vision can be seen in the exhibition in a comparison with his teachers at that time, from Pompeo Marino Molmenti to Michelangelo Grigoletti), his success at the Brera, Academy up to his participation in the Universal Paris Exhibition (1878) which was a source of new inspiration and technical ideas.
The exhibition then continues with works from the Eighties, which met with resounding success with both critics and the general public. On the one hand, his perceptive observation of what was real, of every day Venetian life at the highest levels, in which ironic touches can be seen, on the other, his adherence to fashion and the tastes of his time, with the revival of eighteenth century costume.
His works from the Eighties mark the peak of Favretto’s artistic maturity and these are duly documented in the exhibition, with works from important Italian and foreign museums . They include Susanna and the two old men on loan from the Budapest National Gallery, on display in Italy for the very first time, and the outstanding The laundresses from the Katalinic collection, which has never been on display until now.
In 1887 he took part in the Venice National Exhibition with highly dedicated works that were praised by critics and immediately sold. At the age of just thirty-eight, during the Exhibition he was struck by typhoid fever and died
The exhibition documents both the artist’s last works in the fateful year 1887 and his “legacy”, exemplified by paintings of various artists who explicitly evoke these themes and fashions, thus fuelling the taste in collections at that time.