Between 1921 and 1929 he attended the Liceo Artistico and the San Giacomo evening school of ornamental arts. He was also moved towards painting by reading Roberto Longhi’s book Piero della Francesca (1927): Piero’s art would greatly influence the essence of his pictorial tonalism. In 1933 he held his first solo show at the Dario Sabatello Gallery, which in 1935 included him in the Exhibition of Contemporary Italian Painting, traveling in the United States.
His works from the early thirties show an “aspiration to myth”, which transfigures and suspends the reality of the subjects. His research is technically translated into large chromatic backgrounds, which radiate light. In 1935 at the II Quadrennial of National Art in Rome he exhibited alongside the “tonalists” Giuseppe Capogrossi and Emanuele Cavalli. The culmination of his tonal season is represented by the solo exhibition in 1936 in the Galleria della Cometa. In 1938, his realist debut took place at the 21st Venice Biennale, which helped to open a new stylistic phase within the Roman School.
Tension, violence and loneliness transpire in images of raw everyday life: markets, religious processions, brothels, brutal embraces, fights. In 1946 he held an important solo exhibition at the Rome Gallery. In 1952 the publisher Luigi De Luca dedicated the first monograph to him, with an essay by Leonardo Sinisgalli. In 1956, at the XXVIII Venice Biennale, Roberto Longhi defined him as the greatest living Italian realist; he will also present his 1964 solo show at the Galleria La Nuova Pesa in Rome. The National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome set up a large anthology of his painting in 1984. In 1989 Ziveri won the Viareggio-Repaci Prize.
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