The Allori senza fronde exhibition pays tribute to French artist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (Lyon, 1824 – Paris, 1898), a decisive figure on the European scene and a leading name in nineteenth and twentieth-century French art, who was strongly influenced by Italian Renaissance painting.
The youngest of four children, Puvis was born in Lyon, France, to a family that descended from the Burgundy nobility. He quit his engineering studies after the death of his father and travelled to Italy to recover his health following a long illness.
This Italian experience, together with his encounter with the works of Giotto and Piero della Francesco, made a deep impression on Puvis, who decided to devote himself entirely to art upon his return to Paris in 1848.
Puvis started working in the studios of Henri Scheffer, Eugène Delacroix and Thomas Couture, shunning conventional artistic training and instead painting alone in his studio. His interest in great heroic subjects and classical images led him to start producing murals, deemed to be the greatest aspiration of all the most ambitious painters at the time.
Allori senza fronde aims to shed light on de Chavannes’ symbolist portrayal of the human body and landscape, in keeping with his artistic style inspired by an innovative model of decorative painting that clearly looks to frescoes and the classical ideal.
The exhibition will feature around eighty artworks, including drawings, oils on canvas, sketches and drafts from international private and public collections, some of which have never been exhibited before, and will offer a general overview of all the subjects tackled by the artist during his career.
The French artist developed an original palette with multiple opaque tones, painting in such a way as to infuse his figures with solidity and character through a symbolist language that succeeds in going beyond the boundaries of realism.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Marsilio, with texts by Louise D’Argencourt (art historian, former curator at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa), Bertrand Puvis de Chavannes (art historian, chairman of the Comité Puvis de Chavannes) and the curators, Luigi Fassi and Alberto Salvadori.