Project Description

Antonio Barrera (Rome 1871 – 1961), Cavour bridge

Oil on canvas cm 70 x 90 signed (A. Barrera) lower right and dated (1936) lower left.

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Enrique Serra, a painter who is a family friend, encourages Barrera in pictorial practice, recognizing in the young a certain talent and following him in the first years of training. During the military service Barrera attends Pietro Gaudenzi’s Roman atelier, whose style particularly influences his youthful production, characterized by his adherence to the sentimental-veristic theme and by the concentration on images of everyday life.

The ascendant exercised on Barrera by Armando Spadini is also significant. His inspirations and similar compositional solutions are in fact traceable in the early works of the artist and especially in the landscapes of the ’30s. There is also a certain interest in Corot and the Impressionists, studied during his first trip to Paris in the ’20s and towards the style of Felice Casorati, evident in some works of the late’ 20s, characterized by extreme simplicity and net formal rigor.

Antonio Barrera

In the 1930s, Barrera dedicated himself to the genre of portraiture. Famous are the destroyed Portraits of the Sovereigns of Italy, already in the Senate Presidency, the Portrait of Vera Shereshemskij-Resegner, countess of Russian origin, famous for her fashionable salon and that of her daughter Paola, dating from the early years ’40, refers to a nineteenth-century figurative tradition, enriched by reflections on the twentieth century group. Also during the 1930s Barrera started the series of urban views dedicated to the so-called Roma minor, leaving a significant and romantic testimony of that medieval Rome transformed by the imposing fascist constructions: in this series the view of the Ponte Cavour can be traced here presented, built by Barrera with a juxtaposition of pastel tones that give a feeling of veiled melancholy to this suggestive Roman foreshortening.

Reached a certain notoriety during the Twenties, thanks to the great fresco of the Hall of Honor of the Museum of Popular Traditions at EUR and his reputation as a portraitist of the good Rome, he is totally ignored immediately after the war because of his past as a close artist to the regime. For this reason, but also for economic and family reasons, in 1951 he emigrated to Argentina, where he stayed for seven years, alternating his work as a playwright with significant variations in his artistic language: in Argentine works a brushstroke technique prevails. fluids and a lively, arbitrary and sometimes anti-naturalistic color, aroused directly by emotion. Once back in Italy, in 1958, the consistency of the shapes is accentuated, the touch becomes heavier and Barrera’s paintings tend to fill with figures.