Artists from the Gulf of Poets: Carlo Giovannoni

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Carlo Giovannoni was a versatile artist from La Spezia, where he was born, lived and worked his entire life as a painter and sculptor.

carlo giovannoni italian artist gulf of poetsBorn in 1915, Giovannoni was a self-taught painter by the age of 14, when he became apprentice in the Studio of Master Sculptor Angelo Del Santo, another important artist from the Gulf of Poets. The works that Carlo created in the 1930s as a young and promising sculpture student – including an interesting bronze sculpture named Pugilato (1934) – met with acclaim at exhibitions and contests.

Following some years as a soldier in World War II, Carlo Giovannoni returned to La Spezia and dedicated himself to painting and sculpting. Between 1948 and 1952 he was behind the “Group of the Seven” (Gruppo dei Sette) with other artists from La Spezia: Gino Bellani, Giancarlo Carozzi, Guglielmo Carro, Vincenzo Frunzo, Bruno Guaschino and Giacomo Porzano.

As a painter, Carlo Giovannoni distinguished himself in the areas of abstract art and ‘figured abstraction’; producing a great number of paintings and drawings, and participating in several national and international art events. In the area of sculpture, he produced works in terracotta, bronze and wood – ranging from figures of men and horses, to the theme of maternity, to religious subjects that can be found in some churches.

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In 1959, he constituted “The Group of La Spezia” with Carlo Calogero Datola, Rino Mordacci and Angelo Prini, and exhibited with them in Lugano. His deepest researches in abstract painting date back just to these years and it was at that time he made the following declaration:

“….it is in this way that, through a constant connection among colour, light, shape and architecture in a painting, I try to reach a vision on what is invisible and indistinct, without falling into any fiction frill, without high-sounding words, with a concise, good taste and if possible intelligent language”.

In the 1960s, Giovannoni’s curiosity and search for new emotions led him to work in amateur cinema with FEDIC (Federazione Italiana dei Cineclub). For several years he was an enthusiastic producer of 16-mm short films that narrated the daily lives of ordinary characters and fragments of humanity.

In 1968 he opened the “Gabbiano” art gallery with other colleagues, where he exhibited his work for about twenty years. During the ‘70s and ‘80s he had a leading role in many personal and collective national exhibitions.

Despite an illness that slowed down his activity in the early 90s, Carlo Giovannoni organized two other important exhibitions: the “Antologica” (Pignone, 1992) and “Scultori in Liguria nel secondo ‘900” (S. Margherita Ligure, 1995). His participation to the New York Art Expo in 1995 was his last one. He died in La Spezia in December 1997.

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Today, some of his beautiful paintings enrich and color the common areas at Grand Hotel Portovenere, open to the public for viewing. You can admire them while enjoying a break at Venus Bar or dining at Palmaria Restaurant, both located in the luxury hotel that is at the forefront in the promotion of local artists and territory. Here you will also find paintings by local artist Francesco Vaccarone, and photographs dedicated to local mussel farmers by Claudio Barontini. Other works by Carlo Giovannoni are available at the Atelier Carlo Giovanonni, visible by appointment in La Spezia and Lecce.

For more information, visit the official website of Carlo Giovannoni.

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