Vittorio Agostino Castagneto was born in Rapallo in 1875. After his classical studies, he attended the Accademia Albertina in Turin with little regularity, but can be considered essentially self-taught.
When he was only twenty years old, he began to take part in the Chiavari exhibitions, presenting some landscape works that were still unripe, but full of a luminosity and compositional fluency that was to be found in all his later work. His first known paintings include the one exhibited at Chiavari in the early 1990s, Cypresses of San Michele.
The Ligurian Landscape: Luminosity and Chromatic Synthesis
In 1895, Vittorio Agostino Castagneto made his official debut at the Promotrice in Turin with Last rays and then reappeared at the Permanente in 1898 with a Landscape and a Head study. At the Genoa Promotrice in 1904 he exhibited Impression and two Marines and at the Milan Exhibition in 1906 Marina, Impression and Landscape.
The Rapallo-born artist’s style was rapid and concise, in which the vibration of sunlight rests on the waves of the sea and on the houses along the coast, in a poetic and often intimate dimension, which can also be seen in his production of portraits and female nudes.
From 1909 onwards he began to take part in the Venice Biennials until 1924. He made his debut there with the lyrical landscape Portofino, only to return the following year with Valle d’Aosta. From the 1910s onwards, the painter no longer focused exclusively on the Ligurian landscape, but also on the mountainous landscapes of Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta, places he was particularly fond of. Val Bregaglia and Old things were presented at the 1912 Venice Biennale, while a Portrait was presented at the 1914 Biennale.
Portraits and landscapes between the two wars
After the interruption caused by the First World War, Vittorio Agostino Castagneto resumed exhibiting at the 1920 Biennale with a Marina. In 1924 he exhibited at the Exhibition of Female Portraits in Monza, where he received an honourable mention. At the same time he was at the Biennale with the two portraits Elda and Woman in green.
In 1929 he took part in the International Exhibition in Barcelona and in 1931 in the first Roman Quadrennial with the oil view Sturla. Nude appeared at the Florence Trade Union Exhibition in 1933, while Portrait e Park of Villa Ciano appeared at one of his last exhibitions before the war, the Sindacale in Milan.
After the Second World War there is little evidence of the artistic activity of the now elderly painter, who died in Turin in 1958 at the age of 83.