Telemaco Signorini and Russian artists


In a previous post on another blog I noted the similarities between a painting by Telemaco Signorini and one of the great classics of Russian art: Ilya Repin’s ‘Barge Haulers on the Volga’. A visit to the Tretiakovskaya Gallery yesterday on Krymsky Val suggested that the link between Telemaco Signorini and Russian art was more than simply hypothetical. Although the great Russian artist is better known for his works on historical and religious or biblical motifs, the time spent in Italy clearly shows how Ghe was influenced by the macchaioli movement and, in particular, by Telemaco Signorini. He spent a number of summers in the Gulf of Poets near La Spezia which was to influence not only Shelley and Byron but also D.H.Lawrence and Mario Soldati. Many of Ghe’s landscapes of San Terenzo or Carrara bear the unmistakeable stamp of the macchaiolo technqiue of Signorini or Cabianco. One more link in the chain of mutual Italian-Russian influences. And one more indicator that Liguria and Tuscany are the most ‘Russian’ of Italian regions. Another name that can be linked with this part of Italy was the great Mordovian sculptor Stepan Erzia who before his two and a half decade stay in Argentina would also spend time in Italy precisely in this Ligurian-Tuscan borderland so rich in artistic and literary history.  Other names linking Russia to Liguria include those of Marina Tsvetaeva, Tchaikovsky, and Vrubel. The links between late nineteenth century Russian exiles and the Italian writer from the La Spezia region, Ettore Cozzani were also varied.

About afoniya

I am a translator, language teacher, independent film scholar who is interested in many aspects of culture. I have my own blog on Russian and Soviet cinema at and I have also written for journals such as Film Philosophy and Bright Lights as well as Ribbed magazine. Outside of film my interest runs to language, politics, literature and my world is centred around the Meditteranean, Russia, Southern Ukraine as well as the UK.

One response »

  1. Pingback: Repin e Signorini, due pittori per un soggetto | trial & error

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