Medardo Rosso


Rosso was an Italian sculptor. He attended the Brera Academy in Milan until he was dismissed because of his impatience for traditional teaching. He admired the artists Cremona, Ranzoni, and Grandi. His training in positivist and naturalist culture of the later “Scapigliatura” was also crucial for him. His early works tend to “search for the truth” as an adherence to the optical data. This included the psychological and characteristic qualities of the portrait, and connoted the choice of contemporary themes: the marginalized, the common people, modern life (El Looch, 1881-82, Rome, Gall. Naz. D'Arte Mod., Impression d'omnibus, 1884, destroyed). The tendency to a vision where objectivity and subjectivity interpenetrate, without clear barriers between the physical and mental, becomes clearer in works such as Lo Scaccino (1883, Barzio, Mus. Ross) and La portinaia (1883, Rome, Gall. Naz. D 'Arte Mod.). The positivist reference to the concrete datum persists and the search for reality takes shape in the fusion of the figure with atmosphere. In 1885-56, when the historical impression is now being dissolved, Rosso came into contact with anti-naturalistic cultural tendencies (symbolism synthesis, painting of nabis). His attention to the phenomenon and to the visual sensation accentuated the psychological dynamics and the latent vitalistic energies (the Rieuses series, 1890-91, one in Brazio, Mus. Rosso). The shift between his attention to the content values (typical of the Milanese years) and the emotional recording of the optical data is defined in the mid-1890s. The works that showcase this shift are: Man Who Reads (1893-95, Milan, Coll. Mattioli), Bookmaker (1894), and Conversation in the Garden (1896, both in Brazio, Mus. Ross). Rosso is characterized by this research, a strong synthetic, and a link between the sculpture and the environment, which will hit the futurist Boccioni, and arrive at an extreme outcome in Madam X (1896 Venice, Gall. D’Arte Mod.). After the episode of the Ecce puer (1906, Milan, Gall. D’Arte Mod.). Rosso’s later work showcases a focus of a naturalistic “impression” through his symbolist culture and abundant graphic production of urban and landscapes.