Project Description

Duilio Cambellotti (Rome 1876 – 1960), The survivors

Oil tempera on cardobard cm 38 x 92 signed (Duilio Cambellotti) lower right and lower left with the initials of the author and the ear of corn; entitled lower left. The work will be included in the forthcoming general catalogue of the artist, edited by the Archive of the work of Duilio Cambellotti, Rome.

We thank the scientific director of the “Museo Civico Duilio Cambellotti” Francesco Tetro for the valuable information provided to reconstruct the genesis and history of the work.

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An outspoken Roman artist, chiseller, sculptor and book illustrator, Cambellotti conceived his art as a work of popular dissemination and education for beauty for the masses, but he also succeeded in imposing the elegant idealization of rustic objects – such as furniture and majolica – to the bourgeois public, favoring the awareness of the beauty proper to the tools of peasant labor. Humanitarian socialist, moderate and pacifist, he resurrected in a popular and republican sense the Roman symbolism of the beam, of the eagle and of the wolf long before the advent of fascism, which when it came to power seized it by finding in Cambellotti an already “ready” symbolic repertoire “. Propaganda illustrator in the First World War, creator of unique monuments to the fallen in the first post-war period, he was also involved in the work of the new founding cities of the Pontina Reclamation. There are also numerous works by Cambellotti scattered in Rome; one of all the bronze Lupa Capitolina, merged by the artist.

Duilio Cambellotti

In the work presented here, Cambellotti portrays his status as a teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts of Rome remained in the capital at the outbreak of World War I: the anonymous and barely sketched urban landscape is animated by the silhouettes of chasing children, of old people burdened by the weight of the years and of female figures lying on the roadside. The shadows lengthen on the pavement that culminates with the imposing bulk of the masonry bridge that acts as a scenic backdrop for the entire composition.

A powerful and visionary work that highlights the tragedy of the first world war that cost our country the loss of an entire generation. Exempted from military service, as a tenured teacher, Cambellotti continues the campaign against illiteracy with various decorative and graphic works for peasant schools during the First World War. Pacifist and antimilitarist, he teaches in courses for war-maimed. Datable to 1915, the tempera could have been sold on the occasion of one of the charity evenings organized by the same artist to raise funds for the wounded of war and their families.

The work, in particular, can be traced back to the Peace cycle (from the name of the work known in the plaster and wax version preserved in Latina and in the bronze copy preserved in Latina and the Lazio Region), falling into that corpus of works formed by tempera (La Pace, Il ritorno dei Veterani) together with some engravings (La Pace and La Siepe macabra) and two charcoals published by Annamaria Damigella in the catalogue of the Cambellotti retrospective exhibition held in 1999 at the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Rome.