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Federico Zandomeneghi, romantic impressionist

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Surely we all know or have heard of French impressionists such as Monet, Renoir, and so on, but almost never of their Italian colleagues.

Federico Zandomeneghi is one of them. He was born in Venice in 1841 and he was son of art because both his grandfather and his father were renowned sculptors; since he was a child he was attracted to painting. After attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, in 1874 he went to Paris where he was fascinated by the Impressionist movement. He settled there permanently, participating in many of the exhibitions of the Impressionists and making friends with many of them; among them his closest friend was Edgar Degas, from whom he often takes inspiration for his works (both were interested in the study of the human figure, but Federico stands out because his works have a more sentimental touch). Zandomeneghi's particularity was the use of oil pastels, with which he made the tones of his paintings even sweeter.

Zandomeneghi, despite the proximity of the themes of the Impressionists such as the images of the women's toilets or of Paris, turned his interest more towards the district of Montmartre, the home par excellence of unconventional artists, musicians and writers. In fact, the subjects he painted recreate the environment in which he lived every day.

Then, thanks to Pissarro's influence, he began to create works en plein air, enriching his repertoire of open country views, although his favourite subject remains the female figure, elegant but at the same time very simple, with pastel colours and sweet shades, strongly inspired by the paintings of his friend Degas.

Among these, the oil painting Languore, dated about 1890, shows exactly the style of Federico Zandomeneghi. A young woman is portrayed as she lays her hair on a turquoise cloth, in stark contrast to her pale pink complexion, her red hair and her peach pink dress with blue decorations typical of the time (Zandomeneghi worked for a while as an illustrator for fashion magazines, so he pays particular attention to the models' clothing). The face looks to the right and the paleness is interrupted only by the slight redness on the cheeks. The style, halfway between Impressionism and Romanticism, shows delicate tones, the outlines are blurred, and all this gives the work an unreal sense.

Article by Tiziana Stella - Liceo Artistico Giordano Bruno (Albenga) as part of the program of the School-Work Alternation program. Project coordinator: prof. Simona Antonietta Damonte.

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