Project Description

Carla Celesia di Vegliasco (Florence 1868 – Collesalvetti 1939), Water and sun

Oil on canvas cm 135 x 180 signed (C Celesia) lower right.

INFO:  if you need more information


  • 10th Venice Biennial, 1912
  • 2nd International Female Fine Art Exhibition (Turin, Palazzo Stabile del Valentino, 22nd May – 17th July 1913)


  • Carla Lavelli Celesia, Pensieri, scritti, discorsi, opere di Carla Celesia, baronessa di Vegliasco, in Lavelli de Capitani, curated by Gino Lavelli De Capitani, presentation by Ettore Cozzani, Milano, Alfieri e Lacroix, 1942, tab. n. 47.
  • Francesca Cagianelli, Carla Celesia di Vegliasco, Nicla Spinella Capua, Carla Celesia di Vegliasco e il Camposanto di Pisa. Le decorazioni inedite della Villa “Il Poggio” a Collesalvetti (1924), Debatte, Livorno, 2002, pp. 68 – 69.
  • Francesca Cagianelli, Nicla Spinella Capua, Carla Celesia di Vegliasco protagonista del simbolismo toscano (1868-1939), Debatte, Livorno, 2003, pp. 96 – 97.

Florentine by birth and of Lombard training, Carla Celesia of Vegliasco, the lady of Tuscan symbolism, had created a large living room in her villa in Collesalvetti, one of the most prestigious of the time, in which artists such as Pietro D’Achiardi, the brothers Tommasi and Luigi and Francesco Gioli regularly participated. Trained at Filippo Carcano’s free academy of painting, Carla has shown a great attraction for the symbolist language since the early 1900s, and ended up joining, with her monumental pictorial work in the interiors of Villa Il Poggio, that cult of Primitives that many other artists of Pisa, between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, were maturing, with the teaching of Nino Costa and with the historic critical commitment of Igino Benvenuto Supino, Antony de Witt, Pietro D’Achiardi to arrive at Spartaco Carlini and Alberto Thin. Her is however a sui generis symbolism that does not forget the Tuscan tradition. A symbolic art, on the one hand a study of truth and the other copy of ancient and holy art. An inescapable combination for those like Celesia who have followed the dream of a new aesthetic since the beginning of the twentieth century.

Carla Celesia di Vegliasco

The Baroness painter will end with the imposition in 1912 with works characterized by a frequentation of the true filtered by moods of extreme emotional vibration, appearing at the Venice Biennale in 1912 with the painting presented here, appreciated by Contaldi “for the subject, for the conception”, as well as for the acrobatic lighting effects. The painting constitutes the secessionist vertex in the context of the artist’s production, whose genesis, articulated by various studies of male nudes, is found between the lines of her correspondence. The painting was awarded with the only gold medal awarded in the Milan section within the II International Women’s Fine Arts Exhibition.