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Laurenzio Laurenzi

( Assisi (Perugia) 1878 - Roma 1946 )


    Laurenzio Laurenzi

    Laurenzio Laurenzi was born in Assisi in 1878, but moved to Rome as a young man to attend the Academy of Fine Arts. During his career, the artist specialised above all in landscapes: he immortalised many views of his native Umbria, the Roman capital and other cities on the Italian peninsula and the colonies in Africa in his works.

    The connection with his Umbria

    He dedicated much of his production to Assisi and Umbria. In 1902, at the In Arte Libertas exhibition, one of the first events he took part in, he exhibited Interior of Saint Francis in Assisi. Umbria will also be the protagonist of the Roman Secessions. Laurenzio Laurenzi was a guest at all the Secession editions and in 1913 he exhibited Landscape – Assisi. In 1914, he participated with two works again representing his homeland Fair of St. Francis of Assisi and Umbrian Morning. Assisi.

    In 1919 he exhibited four canvases, including Gubbio and Assisi, at the Società degli amatori e cultori delle belle arti in Rome. As the years went by, new subjects and landscapes would animate his works, but there would always be a glimpse of his land. In 1930, he exhibited two works entitled Assisi at the Fascist Syndicate Exhibition in Rome.

    Laurenzio Laurenzi will also dwell on other Italian beauties, in fact Rome, Venice, and Amalfi appear in the works exhibited at the 1920 exhibition of the Society of Connoisseurs and Amateurs such as St. Peter’s, Lanterna (Venice), Houses (Amalfi), St. Anthony’s Church (Amalfi). At the 1922 edition he instead exhibited canvases with Rome as the protagonist: Piazza del Campidoglio, Sepolcro di Cecilia Metella and Torre delle milizie. At the Third Secession in 1915 he instead participated with a work dedicated to Palermo: S. Giovanni – Palermo.

    Laurenzio Laurenzi: a ‘colonial’ painter

    Laurenzio Laurenzi is best known, however, as a ‘colonial’ painter. From the 1920s onwards, in fact, he devoted himself almost exclusively to the landscapes he saw during his numerous expeditions to African countries. The purpose of the journeys undertaken by the painter was to document the monumental beauties, often dating back to imperial times, of the Italian colonies and thus to show and emphasise Italy’s expansionist power under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. His support for the Regime is also testified by the creation of the work Innalzamento del Monolite Mussolini (Raising the Mussolini Monolith) exhibited in 1936 at the Sindacale Fascista (Fascist Union) held in Rome.

    The artist travelled to Libya, Eritrea, Somalia, as well as Greece, Turkey and Tunisia and from these trips came an album of around eighty engravings of the monuments and places seen. Among the most striking testimonies is that of Fasil Ghebbi, a fortress in Ethiopia near Gondar, restored under the fascist government. Laurenzio Laurenzi also produced canvases inspired by this experience such as Eritrea – The River Boat, exhibited at the 1930 Fascist Trade Union. Other works that convey exotic snapshots are Danzatrice somala and Sposa araba, exhibited in 1934 at the Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Coloniale at the Maschio Angioino in Naples.

    In addition to documenting some characteristic places, the artist also made portraits of African men and women with the very intention of making a sort of reportage of his countryside, also passing on the traditions, often folkloristic, of the now colonised people. The interest in traditions was already present in the works depicting Umbria, such as the already mentioned Fair of St. Francis of Assisi.

    The search for the true chromatic energy

    His artistic research, initially driven by a verista tendency and by a strong colouristic and luministic suggestion, in the second period turned to a drier and more balanced style, but never abandoned the colouristic energy that characterised his early works.

    During the 1930s and 1940s, his engravings were published in numerous newspapers and his name was also known abroad.

    With the fall of Fascism, however, his activity weakened and he was found lifeless in 1946 in his studio in Rome.

    Emanuela Di Vivona


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