Project Description

Donato Frisia ( Merate 1883 – 1953 ), Children at the seaside

Oil on canvas glued on cardboard cm 35 x 45 signed lower right.

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«I’d like to paint a picture with the originality of Giotto and his natural ingenuity. I’d like to paint it in a moment of life, like Tintoretto. I would tread it in depth, as in Titian work it is the color. And I would like to put all the languor and tenderness and subtlety of caressing the line of Canova»: this synthetic poetic declaration by Donato Frisia, contained in his notebook, medley of his work as a painter, contains all the stylistic aspects, typical of his pictorial taste, that we find in the painting presented here.

Beginning with an “originality” that, disrupting the Lombard impressionism rules, which Frisia joined keeping intact his personal “weltanschauung”, finds in the invention of the subject of this painting an extraordinarily fresh and lively theme: entered the water, two pairs of children, the first in the foreground with a small sailing vessel, the second, portrayed in the background, on the way to the shore, raising water foamy peals, playing in the choppy waves in a moment of absolute carelessness. It is, in fact, recalling his own words, “a moment of life”, that represented by the palette of Frisia: the moment of the first discoveries, the first games, the first friendships, the first joyful interactions with nature, during a summer holiday, in the sultriness of August, in the blazing sun of noon, which is reflected, with rapid brushstrokes, in expanse of water slightly moved by the wind. Finally, the tenderness, the central element in this composition, which cloaks the entire formal construction of the painting, from pace hand in hand of the children in the background couple, to the look of the child that is preparing to push the ship, ready to cross the seas much more compelling as those of childhood fantasy, under the eyes of the blond boy who, portrayed from behind, acts as a “prospective bumper”, guaranteeing the right depth to the sloping perspective planes.


This is a work which, as written by Raffaele de Grada (1906 ), shows «the shorthand technique of Frisia, which, compared to the 19th century Lombard artists, has won with the solidity of the outline, with the abolition of “sfumato”, and especially with a lively color, made of juxtaposed patches but formed in all its entirety».