20 September – 27 October 2018
Event: The Journal of Art – Cleto Luzzi. The Roman court painter of Siam
In 1907 Rama V, king of Siam, went to Turin, where he admired the architecture of the city to the point of inviting numerous Italian architects, engineers, artists to Bangkok to intervene in some areas of the capital. The monarch sought to strengthen the prestige of his country, in order to safeguard independence from England and France.
The Roman painter Cleto Luzzi (1884 – 1952) also went to work in Siam and between 1929 and 1932 he became the official painter of Rama VII and director of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. From 20 September to 27 October Gianluca Berardi, with curated by Manuel Barrese, proposes the rediscovery of Luzzi, who trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome among others with Giulio Aristide Sartorio.
However, the exhibition will focus on Luzzi’s orientalist production, performed between Siam and other neighboring countries. About fifteen oils reproduce scenes of local life with a lively intimacy: from the food market crowded with people of all ages, with the goods on the ground, to the temples full of gigantic golden statues. Having emerged from the opaque Italian world dominated by fascism, Luzzi let himself go to an almost pointillist brushstroke, to bright and luminous colors, adhering to that natural and luxuriant land.
“The formal and luminous data of the painting Entrance to Angkor Wat (1930) show how much Luzzi must have meditated on the landscape painting of Enrico Coleman and Sartorio”, declares Berardi. In 2019 the works will be exhibited in the exhibition “The King of Siam and the Italian Travelers Architects” at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.
Francesca Romana Morelli