Today’s a quiet day of rest in Emilia-Romagna. I’m cozied up in our apartment in Bologna, sifting through photos and stories from northern Italy. It seems around every corner we’ve been greeted by a new surprise, a new enchantment, a new glass of wine or plate of colorful food, a new irresistible piece of beauty. This past week: no exception.
We paid a visit to Forlì, Italy, stopping in at Musei San Domenico, a restored 13th century Dominican convent turned creative arts space. Serendipitously, our visit coincided with a temporary exhibit running January 28 – June 17 featuring the work of Italian sculpture Adolfo Wildt (1868 – 1931). The collection offers a glimpse into a creative man’s inspiration and expression, featuring his own works and those of influential predecessors and contemporaries arcing from classical tradition to romanticism, art nouveau, and modernism.
WILDT. L’anima e le forme da Michelangelo a Kimpt
(Wildt. The soul and the shape between Michelangelo and Klimt)
We didn’t know what to anticipate when we entered the museum, but the stillness in the air invited us to slow our pace and grow a deep appreciation for Wildt’s stone and marble works set together with examples of other talented artists’ related pieces.
ANTONIO CANOVA (Possagno 1757 – Venezia 1822)
Endimione dormiente [Detail shot of the perky pet]
1819 – gesso, 85 x 183 x 95 cm
Possagno (Treviso), Museo e Gipsoteca Antonio Canova
Wildt’s alien-like forms spun classic visual compositions into near other-worldly sculptural tales.
ADOLFO WILDT (Milan 1868 – Milan 1931)
Another hall of the museum features an intricate display of tools used for the ancient arts, giving a peek into the skill and dedication required for the sculpture and artist to achieve such craftsmanship.
In addition to the Wildt collection, we were given behind-the-red-ropes access to the museum’s most precious piece, Antonio Canova’s “Ebe” (Hebe, the goddess daughter of Zeus…and also one of my favorite plants from New Zealand. But I digress.)
The loveliness of stone brought to near life…
Finally, this gorgeous duo by List greets visitors upon entry into what would be my favorite hall:
Wildt’s collection of Ink and Gold on Parchment Paper.
WILHELM LIST (Vienna 1864 – 1918)
L’ offerta (Miracolo delle rose)
1900 circa – olio su tela, 162,5 x 82 ognuna
Quimper, MusÈe dex Beaux Arts
Interesting to learn that Wildt apprenticed in hairdressing and goldsmithing as a young man; beautiful to see how the smooth silkiness of curled hair and the shine of precious metal in the workshop may have influenced his interaction with cold stone and dry parchment.
A full series of transfixing pieces lined the dark hall, each so simple and so profound.
The collection included such titles as The Pures and Faith in Childhood, along with the two below.
ADOLFO WILDT (Milan 1868 – Milan 1931)
The Mortal Sin | Faith and Religion
1913 | 1917
Some say that Wildt is a “forgotten genius,” that other modern sculptures and artists received the limelight and recognition throughout the nineteen hundreds, leaving his creativity locked in the shadows.
I’d not made note of his name before this past week, but after walking through the exhibit and admiring the spirit of his work, I want to go back through my old Art History textbooks and see what more I can piece together about this Italian creative.
On this quiet Sunday, I’ve been reading through snippets about him on the web…perhaps you’d enjoy them too? They include even more images of his artwork.
Adolfo Wildt & His Art in Italy:
Exhibit Site: Gallery and Information
Italian Talks: Wildt. The soul and the shape between Michelangelo and Klimt.
Idle Speculations: Wildt: The Forgotten Genius?
There is art in all of life. Snap a photo. Make a sketch. Admire a piece created by another soul. And don’t forget to look in the shadows: delightful surprises often linger, simply waiting to be found.
With that, I’ll sign off. Wherever you are in the world this day, I wish you discoveries of beauty…
Thanks for reading our series from Emilia-Romagna: A region of Northern Italy ripe for exploration. Artisan Local Foods (tortellini, lasagne, pancetta, traditional balsamic vinegar, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to name a few!), Historical Cities (Modena, Ferrara, Bologna, Rimini, and more), and Beautiful Natural Areas (the Po River Delta, the Apennine Mountains, and the green, green farmland in between). Photos and story snippets are flying on Twitter under the #blogville hashtag. Feel free to jump into the conversation to share insights on enjoying the best of Northern Italy!
Last thing (I promise!) – Tell me about your best art-finds from home or on the road. Big museums? Small galleries? Well-known artists? Local amateurs? Bonus points for links to pictures!
I love learning new tidbits…