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Alcide Davide Campestrini

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Alcide Davide Campestrini

( Trento 1863 - Milano 1940 )


    Alcide Davide Campestrini

    He was born in 1863 in Trento into a family of humble origins, but of strongly irredentist leanings. After attending the civic schools in Trento and a course in sculpture, he moved to Rovereto to attend the workshop of an uncle who was a decorator.

    To escape service in the Austrian army, he moved to Milan in 1881, where he enrolled at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. He attended courses by Raffaele Casnedi and Giuseppe Bertini and to support himself he worked at various jobs, such as decorating signs for shops.

    After completing his studies at Brera, he opened a studio in Milan, in Piazza Castello, where he began to work mainly as a portrait painter.

    In 1887 he took part in the National Exhibition in Venice with the painting Meditation, and in the same year he obtained a chair at the School of Applied Art and Industry at Castello Sforzesco, where he remained until 1920.

    In 1894 he exhibited I neghittosi, a painting inspired by the Fourth Canto of Purgatory, which won him the Gavazzi prize for historical-literary painting. This was the period in which he was appointed honorary member of the Brera Academy of Fine Arts and professor of figure painting at the same institution. He took part in a few exhibitions, but ranged from portraits to landscapes and sacred subjects. In 1898 he exhibited Primi suoni (First Sounds) and Sul meriggio (On Afternoon) at Trento in Turin.

    In the first decade of the 20th century he devoted himself above all to military history subjects, and at the Milan Exhibition for the Simplon Tunnel in 1906 he exhibited Avanti Savoia!, Funerali di un fratello and Nell’archivio. Although he lived in Milan, he never broke contact with his home town of Trento, which also gave him several commissions.

    After the First World War, he was commissioned to paint a canvas dedicated to the annexation of Trentino, The Ceremony of the Annexation of Trentino to Italy, completed in 1920 and kept in the Museo del Risorgimento in Trento.

    In the same years he decorated a number of villas in Rovereto, but also the Teatro Sociale in Trento, of which the tempera medallion on the ceiling showing The Trentino towns parading before the victorious and great Italy, announced by the musical arts, is particularly memorable.

    In the 1930s he abandoned celebrative painting to devote himself freely to landscape painting, which led him to travel from the Alps to Campania and Sicily to gather new motifs. In 1934 he travelled as far as Libya, where he produced a series of studies exhibited at the 1834 Colonial Exhibition in Naples. He died in Milan in 1940.

    Elena Lago


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