Project Description

Giovanni Stradone

Nola (Naples), 1911 - Rome, 1981



He was born in Nola on 10 November 1911. Since childhood he has shown a great talent for drawing and painting, attending as a teenager until 1927 the house and studio of the painter Ferruccio Ferrazzi. He attended classical high school, and after high school, due to the insistence of his father, he enrolled in the Faculty of Law, which he never attended. In his youth he also developed a passion for entomology.

Around 1929 he made his first paintings, which see as the protagonist a dear friend of adolescence: Marcello Venturoli, who later became an important art critic, with whom Stradone will have an intense but also conflictual relationship throughout his life. In the 1930s he approaches the “Roman School”, in the footsteps of Scipio and Mafai, but his language is acquiring increasingly individual and original characteristics. His artistic personality acquired relevance starting from the 1940s: the consecration took place with the Bergamo Award of 42, where he obtained the 3rd prize (after Guttuso and Mezio), with the painting The night.

In 1949 he was featured in the great Twentieth Century Italian Art exhibition held at the MoMA in New York, including those that American curators consider to be the greatest Italian artists of the first half of the twentieth century. Between ’48 and ’49, Stradone, “a painter very consistent in deepening his own poetics, in evoking forms from the material magma through the coagulation of light and its detachment from the shadow, and very faithful to a theme of poor objects and villages, ruins and human wrecks “, veers quite abruptly towards a modus ” very personally neocubist and satirical “, well represented by The triumph of Bartali (1948), a work monumental where, together with the champions Bartali and Coppi, figures of great historical-political importance, such as Pope Pius XII. Judged too bold and irreverent, the painting was blatantly rejected by the Venice Biennale of the 1950s. In 1954 he took part in the Biennale with various works.

In the early 1960s he participated in the retrospective dedicated to the Roman School from 1930 to 1945 . In 1964, at the publisher De Luca, a monograph dedicated to Giovanni Stradone was published with a very rare introductory essay by Giorgio de Chirico. In 1967 Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti included him in the great exhibition he curated in Florence: Modern Art in Italy from 1915 to 1935 , while the following year he exhibited in a triple solo exhibition, with Mafai and Scipione, at the Galleria Senior of Rome. An important retrospective of his is held in the same gallery in 1973, which retraces all the stages of his pictorial research. After an interruption of the exhibition activity which lasted a few years, in 1978 he held two solo shows, simultaneously at the La Barcaccia and Russo galleries in Rome. In 1979, issue 44 of the “Carte Segrete” magazine (April-June) is dedicated to an exhaustive Critical Anthology (1943-1979) by Giovanni Stradone, texts by Cesare Brandi, Enrico Crispolti, Giorgio De Chirico, Ercole Maselli, Nello Ponente, Toti Scialoja, Leonardo Sinisgalli, Antonello Trombadori, Lorenza Trucchi, Marcello Venturoli and many others.