Project Description

Nino Bertocchi ( Bologna 1900 – Monzuno 1956 ), Still life

Oil on canvas cm 72 x 65, signed and dated ( 1930 ) upper right corner.

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Prominent celebrity of the Bologna of the early Twentieth century, graduate engineer, but soon abandoned his architectural career to devote himself to figurative art, Nino Bertocchi is formed as essentially self-taught painter, looking at the Tuscan Macchiaioli, Courbet but mostly Paul Cezanne, his ideal teacher, and at the same time by studying the exhibitions that reviews in his work as a journalist and militant art critic.

Ardent supporter of the traditional values of art, unyielding to the lure of the avant-garde, heedless of the risk of being left isolated on the art scene, he devoted himself mainly to landscape painting, finding in this genre of painting the way to express his feelings, almost religious, for the nature.


Professor of stage design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, where he taught from 1940 until his death, skittish and shy character, Bertocchi around 1930, the year of realization of this still life in the manner of Cezanne, joins a côté artists educated to a direct representation of reality and tied to the issues of natural everyday life became common in Bologna and other towns in the region, with whom, at a later time, also gives rise to a magazine, «L’orto», critic and literary witness of the local art developments. This is the time of the “return to the order” in the twentieth century that sees Bertocchi on the front lines on the Bologna scene next to Giorgio Morandi, Ercole Drei and Giovanni Romagnoli.

In the path traced by this cultural climate, originates this still life, anchored to figuration, but with a new interpretation of color values: the pears and apples in the foreground, a tribute to the tutelary deity of Cezanne, the great central shell placed in the center of the composition, ahead of the two bottles and the painter’s palette, stand out in an environment built on gray – pearly colors: emerges a poetic declaration contrary to the breakdown of the figure professed by the vanguards, proposing a recovery of a strong and concise vision of the artists of the Italian Fifteenth century.