Bruno Cordati 1890 - 1979

The museum-home Casa Cordati is currently in its tenth year of activity. Its permanent show is organised chronologically and by theme.
In the Studio Room (sala dello studio), where artist Bruno Cordati worked during his last years, are his classic works dating back to the '20s and '30s, described by Emilio Pasquini as «highly human in content». These paintings were exhibited in various shows of the period, leading the way to Cordati's participation at the Venice Biennale in 1928.

In an article from that time (1930), L. G. Paolini praised Cordati's «precise drawing technique, rigorous perspective planes and highly effective contrasts of light». Two years later, in L'Eroica, Cozzani wrote about his use of colour «...which is never muddy and nebulous, but rises from the darkest greys and browns to the boldest shades of white, green, red and yellow, through free associations of tones which blend and confer a sense of daring yet harmonious modern music".
On display in the Studio Room and shown for the first time to the public is «Donna alla finestra», a painting dating back to the ‘30s and echoing in its style, colours and atmosphere the more celebrated «Giovinetta seduta».

Also exhibited for the first time in the show are two studies for the painting «In soggettiva». These drawings were found last winter inside a small notebook along with other sketches (of landscapes, animals and figures). «In soggettiva» is one of Cordati’s most important works, «having received a highly authoritative praise, that of Marinetti» (Paccagnini).

The Middle Room (sala di mezzo) has been called this way since 1985, when the first posthumous show of Bruno Cordati was organised. At that time the exposition space only comprised the three rooms facing the garden, and this was the room in the middle. The last room, called Long Room (sala lunga), was modified in 1997 by artist Alberto Garutti, who subdivided it and enlarged the exhibition area that had characterised Casa Cordati in its first three years as museum-home. Since Garutti's intervention, there have been Long Room A (sala lunga A) and Long Room B (sala lunga B).

In the Middle Room and the Long Room A, visitors can view works from the '60s and '70s. As in last year's selection, they follow a theme, a common thread. In many works of the late Cordati the human figure is still present but it undergoes a metamorphosis. The faces lose their features, the bodies become stocky, almost limb-less, they resemble manikins, cocoons. These shapes seem like the beginning of something; or its end. Humanity seems to fade into the paintings’ increasingly magmatic background. The contrast with the luminosity and bright colours of the works in the preceding room is extreme but intentional. One can interpret these three rooms according to a cycle: life ending and beginning once again.

Retracing one's steps, one enters the Kitchen Room
(sala della cucina) and the New Room (sala nuova), the latter owing its name to the fact that it was the last room added to Casa Cordati's museum space.
In these rooms we chose to address the theme of the child in Bruno Cordati’s oeuvre. This theme was much visited by the artist from the very beginning. «A great flowering of children…», says Emilio Pasquini about the artist’s show in Lucca in 1923; and Cordati’s only painting at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Rome is «Testa di bimbo» («Child’s head»), bought in 1921 by the undersecretary of the Belle Arti (ministry of culture). Yet the children painted by Cordati in the late period are very different from those of the previous years. One can scarcely talk of «flowering», and they are rarely represented in child-like attitudes; most often they have adult expressions, or they communicate feelings of infinite sadness, sometimes of desperation.

The Room of Drawings (sala dei disegni) provides a curious window on Cordati's work which we wished to maintain, and includes mostly studies and sketches. The Bulgarian Room (sala bulgara), instead, is a new addition, containing works dated from 1939 to 1943, when Cordati taught in Bulgaria. Here it might seem as if we are discovering a different artist; during one of the happiest periods of his life, in fact, Cordati painted in «exceptionally rich and luminous» tones (Paccagnini).

Personal and collective exhibition

  • 1921 Pacini Institute, Lucca
  • 1922 Permanent Exhibition, Bagni di Lucca
  • 1923 First Regional artistic exhibition, Casino dei Nobili, Lucca
  • 1925 First artistic exhibition, Barga
  • 1926 IV Spring Exhibition, Livorno
  • 1927 XCIII Esposizione Amatori e Cultori delle Belle Arti
  • 1928 II Art Exhibition, Fiume
  • 1928 XVI International Art Exhibition, Venice
  • 1929 Palazzo Ducale, Lucca
  • 1930 IV Regional Tuscan Art Exhibition, Florence
  • 1930 Personal Exhibition, Circolo Lucchese, Lucca
  • 1931 II Provincial Exhibition of Art, Lucca
  • 1931 Personal Exhibition, Bottega d'Arte, Livorno
  • 1931 Personal Exhibition, Barga
  • 1931 Personal Exhibition, Casa d'Arte, La Spezia
  • 1932 Personal Exhibition, Circolo Lucchese, Lucca
  • 1932 Personal Exhibition, Kursaal, Viareggio
  • 1934 Personal Exhibition, Circolo Centro, Viareggio
  • 1934 I Summer Exhibition, Kursaal, Viareggio
  • 1935 Art exhibition, Barga
  • 1937 IV Art Exhibition, Lucca
  • 1945 Provincial Art Exhibition, Lucca
  • 1946 II Provincial Art Exhibition, Lucca
  • 1947 Art Exhibition, Barga
  • 1978 Art in Lucca 1900-1945, Palazzo Mansi, Lucca
  • 1980 Retrospective Exhibition, Barga
  • 1985 Anthological Exhibition, Barga
  • 1986 Anthological Exhibition, La Nuova Strozzina (Palazzo Strozzi), Florence
  • 1988 Anthological Exhibition, Palazzo Lanfranchi, Pisa
  • 1990 Anthological Exhibition, Sophia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria
  • 1993 Anthological Exhibition, Fontana del Delfino Gallery, Bergamo
  • Since 1994 Permanent Exhibition, Palazzo Cordati, Barga.


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