Project Description

Nicola D’Antino (Caramanico Terme 1880 – Rome 1966), Bather

Bronze sculpture cm 40 high, signed (N. D’ANTINO), dated (1909) on the base, where the stamp of the “Nelli Foundry, Rome” is also reported.

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The artistic career of Nicola D’Antino begins with the practice of the watercolor technique, with which he engages in the genre of the landscape, under the guidance of the painter Francesco Paolo Michetti, who later introduced him to his famous cenacle of Francavilla al Mare, near Chieti, meeting point of great personalities of the culture of the time, among which Gabriele D´Annunzio and Costantino Barbella stands out. Precisely from his fellow-countryman Barbella, D’Antino takes up the secrets of the patina on metal and the chiselling which is used with great skill. The interest of D’Antino is so directed towards sculpture, a field in which he will achieve the best results for inventiveness and updating with respect to contemporary European artistic research. It is the small format favored by the Abruzzese sculptor: groups of children intent on playing or reading, dancers, sirens, bathers, become his favorite subjects.
Of this first artistic production is a valuable testimony to the work presented here, a bather, in which the choice made by D’Antino to adhere to Liberty is present in nuce: to go beyond the debate between an innovative line of Italian tradition and the assumption of foreign languages. The sinuous figure of this mermaid seems to come out of the plastic material of bronze: her languid relax with her arms folded behind her head and the face captivated by a sensual abandonment place her at the center of the research undertaken by the Abruzzese sculptor of a formal perfection. In fact, within the production of D’Antino, the work presents itself as a fundamental premise for the formulation of a typology of figures that in the “Adolescents” and “Female Nudes” will reach the icasticity of the liberty acronym and the elegant taste of rhythmic and fast linearisms.

Nicola D’Antino

An anxiety of modernism that, starting from the Twenties, will turn towards an increasingly vigorous and monumental style in the civil, architectural and urban development of his sculpture (just think of the luminous Fontana dell’Aquila and the four bronze statues made to adorn the Bridge Littorio di Pescara, today unfortunately destroyed along with the bridge itself), showing a certain reference to the grandeur of classical culture to which D’Antino will approach, influenced by the changed cultural climate created by the fascist regime.