Storia dell’arte 153, Gennaio – Giugno 2020
Maria Stella Bottai
Nuovi documenti su Vittorio Pica e le mostre italiane di Akseli Gallen-Kallela: 1895-1950
Vittorio Pica, literature and fine art critic, reviewed in the pages of the magazine «Emporium», of which he was an assiduous collaborator, the main national and international art events, promoting the knowledge in Italy of the foreign artists with whom he started often long-lasting relationships. This contribution focuses on Pica’s interest in Nordic artists – Scandinavian and Baltic – who participated with extraordinary success to the first editions of the Venice Biennale, and in particular on his role in the promotion of the Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela in Italy, to which the author has recently dedicated a monograph (Rome 2020).
The relationship between Pica and the painter is reconstructed here through published and published documents, found in Italian and Finnish archives. In 1914 Gallen-Kallela reached the apex of his presence in Italy with the acclaimed solo exhibition at the Giardini of the Venice Biennale, welcomed by an enthusiastic press review and followed by a request from the Italian Ministry of Education for a self-portrait for the Uffizi Galleries (which would never reach the Florentine museum). Pica, the first to write about him in the Italian press, is presumably the author of the Gallen-Kallela’s participation to the 1914 Biennale, of which he was Deputy Secretary, and promoter in general of the vision of the Nordic artists as ‘innocent and wild’, free from centuries of artistic tradition that, in Italy, prevented the achievement of a unity of language in the visual art after the proclamation of Unification.