He studied with Cesare Tallone at the Brera Academy and soon established himself as a refined interpreter of Lombard high society portraiture, thanks to a fast and luminous post-impressionist technique. Representative in this sense is the Portrait of the actress Lydia Borrelli. He also devoted himself to the landscape and to the depiction of Orientalist scenes. Among the works on display we remember: Baby in the sun, Still life, Gray cap, On the beach, The book of fairies,
The putto, The Japanese dress, El Wassa district and Arabian type. I do not remember that Giuseppe Amisani ever presented himself to the sovereign public, weapons and baggage, with such a large group of works: not even in the years of cuccagna that have just passed and seem already very distant, when every artist threw himself into putting on his good personal exhibition, and the houses of the new rich were all a picture gallery.
But even if this exhibition were not precisely the first that he dedicated himself, it would still be a rare event in his life as a painter, and therefore rare it is also for the public, who after having followed him occasionally in group exhibitions, where his paintings they could arouse consensus and dissensions, but they never went unnoticed, today he judges and tastes through a thick and compact series of works, an expression of his mature talent and his accomplished personality.
To reach which, from what I know of his studies and his vigil, I do not think he has been very worried. Amisani is one of those happy geniuses who reach the fullness of their faculties, I don’t say unconsciously, but not even through a slow and laborious process of self-criticism, that is, of doubts and perplexities.
Socks called it an “instinctive”. Of course, his artistry, his tactic of war to win the small daily battles of the easel does not consist in drawing up plans, but in moving straight to the assault. That guide that others painstakingly draws from his own dialectical spirit, discussing aesthetic problems, tendencies, addresses in himself, he finds effortlessly in its well-disposed nature.
And he abandons himself to this genuine temperament of a painter, knowing he can abandon it, because in it all the levers work with balance, and close to the impetuous and passionate inspiration the moderating force of a refined and sure taste watches. Much more than art, life was difficult for him in the beginning. Born in Mede di Lomellina of modest parents, and full of eager will in the first artistic trials, his character was not hardened by the arid struggles for existence.
The setbacks began on the threshold of the school, when he showed up in Brera and the Academy rejected the ill-advised aspirant, who knocked on his door having with him such a scant set of academic knowledge; nor did he see the enthusiasm that burned in those youthful eyes. Amisani was later admitted to it; and after some time, he competed with a “Cleopatra”, for I don’t know what prize of I don’t know what triennial: but between the Artistic Commission that would have gladly awarded it to him and the Academic Council that was not favorable to him, the verdict disappointed his hopes. This disappointment could be endured in peace.
The naive young man felt it as though he were an irreparable defeat, and he retreated mortified to his Po Valley village, where he spent five years doing almost nothing. Did the long rest restore his spirit? Or perhaps, gathered in himself and far from extraneous influences and suggestions, he knew his way? Of course, when he resumed painting and composed “L’Eroe” and with that returned to Milan, the new Amisani seemed quite different from the old.
His painting, opaque and blackish, had suddenly lightened and as if illuminated, acquiring transparency and vibrations; in the impasto of his palette, in the manner of his brushstroke, in the taste with which he now intoned and colored, he was another. Even this time he did not win the Canonica award, but this time he did not have the weakness to consider a mediocre misfortune unbearable, and if official recognition was denied him, he did not lack the comfort of an authoritative and severe judge, Emilio Gola, and of other good connoisseurs: so much so that, having renounced for ever the surly solitude of Mede, he welcomed the hospitality offered to him in his studio by a generous friend, the sculptor Ravasco and went back to work with great alacrity, and returned to trust in his luck.
He didn’t wait long. The pictorial soul of Amisani vibrates for nothing and is exalted by nothing as much as by female beauty: of which few will be able to blame him. And you know that each time has its own ideal of feminine beauty, and in this it is characterized as in any other particular expression of its own historical individuality.
If all the masters of female portraiture from ancient to modern could be brought together once in a single gallery, this evolution would be illustrated in their op