Pittura Colta

Quick Reference

A movement in painting, flourishing from the 1980s, in which artists imitate certain features of the figure style of the Old Masters in an ironic way that is considered characteristic of Postmodernism. The name was coined by the Italian critic Italo Mussa, who published a book entitled La Pittura colta in 1983, and the movement is associated mainly with Italy. Probably the best-known of the artists who work in this vein is Carlo Maria Mariani. Others are Alberto Abate (1946– ), Bruno d'Arcevia (1946– ), Antonella Cappuccio (1946– ), and Vittorio Scialoja (1942– ). They all paint mythological or pseudo-mythological scenes in a gaudy, sleek, and stagey reworking of Old Master conventions. Non-Italian artists who have worked in a similar style include the American David Ligare (1945– ); in addition to figure compositions he paints classical landscapes, somewhat in the manner of 17th-century artists such as Nicolas Poussin, but with a glossy modern air (Landscape for Baucis and Philemon, 1984, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut). The French painter Gérard Garouste (1946– ) has also drawn on mythological themes, although his style is rather more expressionistic.

Subjects: Art.

Reference entries