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Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo

(1868—1907)


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Italian painter, born in Volpedo. He adopted the divisionist technique and his approach to art was marked by both his study of optics and his commitment to Socialism. His most ambitious work is The Fourth Estate (1901, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan), depicting workers striding purposefully towards the viewer and their goal of progress. He adopted the laborious Renaissance method of working from full-scale cartoons, and the likeness of the gestures to those in Raphael's Disputa (1510–11, Vatican, Rome) has been noted by Sandra Beresford (A. Bowness Post-Impressionism, 1979). The painting was exhibited only twice in the artist's lifetime, in Turin in 1902 and Rome in 1907, on each occasion attracting little attention. However, it was frequently reproduced in the Socialist press and many years later achieved worldwide exposure on the credit sequence of Bernardo Bertolucci's Marxist epic film Novecento (1976). Pellizza died by suicide.

From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.


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