Monday, 28 January 2013

Antonio Mancini: Nineteenth-Century Italian Master. A review.

Antonio Mancini: Nineteenth-Century Italian Master. Cover photo.

Antonio Mancini. The Street Urchin, c. 1868. Oil on canvas.

Antonio Mancini. Scugnizzo with Crucifix, c. 1875. Oil on canvas laid down on board.

Antonio Mancini. The Saltimbanco, c. 1877-78. Oil on canvas.

Antonio Mancini. Sir Hugh Lane, c. 1906. Oil on canvas.
Looking back on my previous posts, I find that I have neglected painting and, to a lesser degree, sculpture, at the expense of drawing. This is owing not to a preference for any of these mediums, but due to my belief that drawing is the foundation of the other two.

Regardless, I would like to rectify that omission with a review of a book I have recently acquired. Antonio Mancini: Nineteenth-Century Italian Master by Ulrich W. Hiesinger was published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2007 and is, unfortunately, out of print. Second hand copies are expensive, but Mancini is a neglected painter who deserves more attention and the book is a worthwhile addition to any painter's library.

Mancini was born in 1852 in Rome. During his lifetime he was a celebrated painter who John Singer Sargent referred to as "the greatest living painter." High praise from a genius such as Sargent. Mancini flirted with mental problems during his thirties and financial problems most of his life. But he overcame these obstacles to produce a wonderful body of work. At his best, Mancini employs a mesmerizing understanding of light and a keen insight into his subject that rivals Sargent.

Mancini led an interesting life with numerous problems and I was intrigued by his story as well as his painting. It's a pity that this book isn't more widely available.

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