Until 23 June 2019 Palazzo Sarcinelli, Conegliano, Veneto region, Italy hosts a new exhibition: ‘I Ciardi. Paesaggi e giardini’ (The Ciardi Family. Landscapes and Gardens). This exhibition, the second of a series devoted to the landscape in Venetian painting from the 1800s to the 1900s, and promoted by Conegliano city council and Civita Tre Venezie, started in 2018 with the retrospective exhibition Teodoro Wolf Ferrari. La modernità del paesaggio. Curated by Giandomenico Romanelli, with Franca Lugato and Stefano Zampieri, it is focused to one of the most successful families of Venetian artists of the period: the Ciardi family.
In a period of great changes in painting, which was increasingly oriented towards a firsthand, open-‐air study of reality, Guglielmo (Venice 1842-‐1917) and his children Beppe (Venice 1875 – Quinto di Treviso 1932) and Emma (Venice 1879 – 1933) were the absolute protagonists of the Venetian, Italian, and international art scene. They took part in various Venice Biennales and in the most important national exhibitions; they were also highly visible abroad. The exhibition allows us to appreciate, through more than 60 works exhibited in an original manner and linked in the main to representations of the nature and landscape of the Veneto region, the salient elements of this family’s output. It will highlight the particularities, similarities, and differences between the three artists, easily recognised thanks to some of the juxtapositions proposed by the show. The exhibition opens by focussing on the early career of Guglielmo, still influenced by the nineteenth century landscape tradition, as can be seen in an extremely precocious and previously unexhibited painting dating from 1859, Paesaggio fluviale; it then moves on to the years passed at the Venice school of fine arts under the guidance of Domenico Bresolin (Padua 1813 – Venice 1899), and to the importance that the landscape of the Venetian hinterland was to have on his art. Rural and marshland atmospheres along the River Sile, but also the landscape of the foothills and the Dolomites, create an original line, one that, in a certain sense, has previously been overlooked in the artist’s output. The second section is devoted to the work by Emma, a tireless painter and traveller who was appreciated at an international level; she cultivated the Venetian landscape tradition, and was able to rework Macchiaiole, Impressionist and late Impressionist experiences in an original way. She rediscovered the great tradition of Guardi and reused it in a new, ironical and vivacious manner with an overt modern taste that included quotations from his painting, arriving perhaps at the most singular results in the attention she paid to gardens and parks in a kind of hortus conclusus where calm and security reigned. There is also another important element that the show highlights: the numerous artistic trips around Europe testified to by a comparison between some works by Guglielmo and Emma. During these journeys the enthusiasm for nature and the painting of views gained a cosmopolitan enrichment and innovative subjects and iconographies, ranging from the Impressionists to the School of Glasgow. The exhibition itinerary closes with the work of Beppe, which is given a new slant aimed at highlighting the artist’s modernity and his Symbolist accents. Even while remaining faithful to his father’s poetics, he introduced elements that were more typical of the twentieth century in order to give space to his personal vision of landscape. In his painting, besides the quiet presence of animals and shepherds, he slowly established the centrality of the human figure which, thanks to the lesson of Ettore Tito, at times was emancipated to the point of dominating the landscape. So the itinerary follows the evolution of the language of each of the three artists, and gives an overview of the development of one of the most important families in the history of Venetian painting from the end nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth.