In 1883 Kristian Zahrtmann travelled for the first time to Civita D’Antino, an isolated mountain village in the Roveto Valley of Abruzzo, which became his “second home” for three decades. Seeking independence from the formal parameters of the Academy of Copenhagen, Zahrtmann was immediately captured by the natural beauty of the landscape and the hospitality of the townspeople. He subsequently founded his Summer Art School in the town, which for over thirty years attracted students, friends, and colleagues the likes of P.S. Krøyer and Joakim Skovgaard. The names of the artists who frequented Civita D’Antino are represented with accompanying coats of arms in the Casa Cerroni, the inn that provided hospitality to the Nordic artists. These frescoes have currently become the object of a restoration project under the direction of Lars kærulf Møller (Director, Bornholms Kunstmuseum). As Honorary President of the local Tourism Board, in 1910 Zahrtmann carried out plans to beautify the town’s historic center, with the aid of Danish architects Valdemar Neiiendam and Martin Nyrop, and the following year he retired to his atelier in Copenhagen. The earthquake of 1915 in the Marsica region of Abruzzo nearly destroyed the town, as recounted in Johannes Jørgensen’s Cività D’Antino (1915), and in its wake equally tumultuous events ensued: World War I, rapid and dramatic societal transformations, and the advent of avant-garde tendencies that with them swept away the ideal of natural beauty in art. With the outbreak of World War II, what once symbolized an Arcadian paradise for the stable colony of Nordic painters had come to an end.
The exhibition is the first of its kind in Italy since the Rome Expo of 1911, in which numerous paintings of the “Civita D’Antino School” were placed on exhibit for the first time. The venue for this exhibition is the Museo Andersen in Rome, located near Rome’s Piazza del Popolo and easily reached by public transportation. All fifty-two items comprising the exhibit have been carefully selected along thematic lines that highlight the ideas, desires, and aspirations of the Nordic painters in Abruzzo. The event is promoted by the Fondazione Pescarabruzzo and Archivio Ferrante.
In Italy there has heretofore never been an exposition showcasing the works of art produced by Kristian Zahrtmann (Bornholm 1843–Frederiksberg 1917) and his school of painters whose works were admired by Gabriele D’Annunzio and Francesco Paolo Michetti during their first public exhibition at the 1st International Art Exhibition of the City of Venice in 1895. Recently in Italy, however, there has been a growing interest in Zahrtmann and his ties to the mountain village of Civita D’Antino: Several monographs and articles have been written and art exhibits planned—though limited in number and scope—that are a significant testimony to the “rediscovery” of Zahrtmann and his school in Italy. The exhibit is promoted by the Fondazione Pescarabruzzo and the Archivio Ferrante.
Museo Hendrik Christian Andersen
Till 2 June 2014
Via Pasquale Stanislao Mancini, 20
Tue-Sun 9.30am-7.30pm. Monday closed.