Giovanni Prini ( Genova 1877 – Rome 1958 ), Portrait of aunt Catina.
Bronze cm 35 x 32 x 47 signed lower.
Exhibitions: LXXXVI Esposizione Internazionale della Società Amatori e Cultori delle Belle Arti, Rome 1906; Giovanni Prini Il Potere del sentimento, Rome 2006.
Bibliography: Catalog of the LXXXVI Esposizione Internazionale della Società Amatori e Cultori delle Belle Arti, (1906), Sala O n. 352; Giovanni Prini Il Potere del sentimento, Rome 2006, pag. 92.
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Within the sculpture, label which proves its presence in an exhibition held in the first years of the Twentieth century.
“One of the most interesting young Roman sculptors”: with these words Giovanni Prini is hailed in 1908 by the great Vittorio Pica that proposes him for the Venice Biennial in the following year. And just thanks to the great Pica we have the most striking definition of Prini’s sculpture: “an enveloping harmony line”.
Just a single line wraps, collecting them in a lyrical representation of family feelings, this pair of figures, mother and son, locked in an embrace, only shelter from the life’s adversities: no frills, no lie shines through this celebration of the weakest people’s dignity, captured in their truth of a poverty that is shown in all its terrible harshness. This bronze is inserted fully into the body of artworks animated by the humanitarian socialism that convinced Prini, in contact with Balla and Cambellotti, that the artist’s role, until then considered a cheerful “bohemian”, it was to meet the needs of a rising underclass, marginalised by the industrialized society.
It was famous in Rome the Prini’s house at the beginning of the century: around the beautiful Orazia Belsito and the sculptor met the emerging artists then, Balla and Cambellotti precisely, together with Giovanni Cena and Sibilla Aleramo, creating discussions and experiences that contributed greatly to the young sculptor’s formation.
The Giovanni Prini’s first sculptures, in fact, are children playing and old people at work: a production that earned him, in the name of the humanitarian socialism then spread among the artists most sensitive to social issues, the nickname “poet of the childhood” and “of the common people”.
In the second part of his career, moving from symbolist mood to the climate of secession, Prini devoted himself to interior decoration, portraits and landscapes of great technical ability which purposely wants to escape every emotion. Prini also designed in the Art Nouveau style landscapes and portraits of women, and sculpts vases and sculptures where the influence of the Roman climate and Cambellotti is mostly present: his most representative work is the large frieze for the vestibule of the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome.