Aligi Sassu illustrates Alessandro Manzoni's Promessi Sposi: an exhibition in San Benedetto del Tronto

From Dec. 1, 2019, to Jan. 16, 2020, the Palazzina Azzurra in San Benedetto del Tronto will open the exhibition Aligi Sassu Illustrates Alessandro Manzoni’s Promessi Sposi. Curated by Rosalba Rossi, this is an exhibition whose subject is the display of the 58 original watercolors, made by Aligi Sassu (Milan, 1912 - Pollença, 2000), commissioned by the publisher Giampiero Giani, to illustrate The B etrothed by Alessandro Manzoni. The watercolors (size cm 40.50 x 29.50) were made in the winter of 1942-43 in Zorzino on Lake Iseo, where the artist had withdrawn, being under special surveillance, after his release from prison in which he had ended up for anti-fascist activity.

This period of retreat was marked by intense creative work in which, in addition to the 58 watercolors that are the subject of the exhibition, saw the light of works that were to be considered among the artist’s greatest masterpieces, such as the great Deposition, a work currently in the Vatican, and I martiri di Piazzale Loreto, a painting that was completed, in fact, in 1944, would then exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1952 and, on the recommendation of Giulio Carlo Argan, will be purchased by the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Rome (then exhibited until last June 28, 2019 at the Fondazione Prada in Milan).

The collection of 58 watercolors of I Promessi Sposi has always been considered by Sassu himself as his most significant work in the field of illustration, preceded by a production of about 125 drawings and preparatory sketches.

The commissioning publisher Giani, however, did not publish it in 1944 and Aligi Sassu was thus forced to sell it to Renato Perugia, a friend and jeweler in Milan, who later sold it, unbeknownst to the artist himself, to another collector. In 1977, now considered lost, the watercolors were found intact (all except one, which was later known to have ended up in the Savona home of the writer Annaviva Acquaviva) in the collection of Gino Cerastico, a Milanese pharmaceutical industrialist.

In 1982, upon Gino Cerastico’s death, Aligi Sassu himself attempted to buy it back, but Luisa Cerastico Zecca ended the sale of the watercolors to Alfredo Paglione in his famous Gallery 32 on Via Brera in Milan. Aligi Sassu, in his autobiography, writes that this was “a hard blow, since I cared so much about that work.” The gallery owner Alfredo Paglione then worked from the beginning to succeed in publishing the work. The publication takes place in a few months, edited by Michele Calabrese of the Art Market publishing house in Monterotondo (Rome). A large-format monumental edition is produced, numbered individually and accompanied by a preface by Giancarlo Vigorelli, president of the Manzoni House in Milan, where the publication is presented to the Authorities (including Cardinal Colombo), on May 5, 1983, together with the original watercolors. After this first Milanese event, the watercolors were the subject of further exhibitions, in Italy and abroad. In 2002, Mr. and Mrs. Alfredo Paglione and Teresita Olivares wishing to dedicate the entire collection of watercolors to the City of Chieti, donated it to the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio della Provincia di Chieti. For the occasion, the republication in a luxurious edition (complete with the text of The Betrothed) of the entire work is proposed, which since the same year 2003 has found its permanent home in the City of Chieti, at the Palazzo De’ Mayo Museum. The latter, since last May 22, 2019, following the merger by incorporation of the Chieti Foundation, is the headquarters in Abruzzo of the Banco Di Napoli Foundation. The exhibition, which opened on December 01, 2019 at the Palazzina Azzurra in the City of San Benedetto del Tronto, is thus one of the first exhibitions of the entire oeuvre of the 58 original watercolors outside its permanent home.

Pictured: Aligi Sassu, Farewell Monti

Source: release

Aligi Sassu illustrates Alessandro Manzoni's Promessi Sposi: an exhibition in San Benedetto del Tronto
Aligi Sassu illustrates Alessandro Manzoni's Promessi Sposi: an exhibition in San Benedetto del Tronto

Warning: the translation into English of the original Italian article was created using automatic tools. We undertake to review all articles, but we do not guarantee the total absence of inaccuracies in the translation due to the program. You can find the original by clicking on the ITA button. If you find any mistake,please contact us.