Pio Solero was born in Sappada in 1881. He began his training in 1898 at the Venice Academy of Fine Arts. In 1902, he went to the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome and between 1903 and 1904 he completed his training by moving to Germany to attend the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. During his German experience, he became close to Carlo Bonomi and became interested in the graphic and pictorial treatment of the Jugendstil current, looking at the mountain landscapes of Ferdinand Hodler. In 1905 he travelled between Cairo, Venice and Argentina, in a continuous desire to update his painting and draw new suggestions.
Mountain subjects: from the Jugendstil line to a loose, material verism
At the outbreak of the First World War, he returned from Argentina to enlist as a volunteer and defend his land: he fought as an Alpine soldier in the Dolomite massifs of his native Sappada and was taken prisoner in 1916. Once the war was over, his youthful desire to travel came to an end, so he settled in Sappada for good to devote himself to painting from life. The protagonists of his canvases are the mountains and the local landscapes, represented with a remarkable chromatic strength and a free and fast technique.
His powerful, textured brushstrokes are aimed at enlivening and almost honouring the landscapes he loves so much, those of Carnia and the Sappada Dolomites, which are rich in personal and emotive suggestions. The real is rendered through a quick ability to draw a subtle and changing impression, also taking into account the influence of the sophistication of Secessionist drawing.
In his home in the mountains, Pio Solero painted en plein air, without settling into complete solitude. On the contrary, he maintained important contacts with the artists of the time, whom he often invited to paint with him, such as Toni Piccolotto and Alessio Issupoff. The paintings of this period are Mountain Landscape, Snow, Alpine Landscape, Last Snow on Monte Cristallo.
After a break during the Second World War, when Solero temporarily stopped painting, he resumed his artistic activity in the 1950s, devoting himself not only to alpine views but also to still lifes such as Mazzo di fiori, Bronzino e gallo cedrone and Vaso di fiori.
The suggestive Veduta del Gruppo del Popera with the village of Danta is made with a constructive spatula painting, with bright and intense colours, almost acid in their daring combinations, between the bright green and the pink of dawn on the mountain. Other views of the same value are Veduta in montagna di sera, Baita in montagna, Cime innevate, Casolari in montagna, Monte Pleros – Sul confine tra Carnia e Cadore, Sappada – Agosto 1938, Paese di montagna. Active until the end, he died in his native Sappada in 1975.