All art is contemporary…Episode #12

23 February 2021

“The battles”

A journey through Flashback’s works that represent the war, the combats on horseback, the battlefields.  

“Si vis pacem, para bellum.” 

Let us begin our pathway starting from the work of Venetian author Antonio Maria Marini (Venice 1668 – 1725) Battaglia – Scontro di cavalleria, oil on canvas of the 18th Century. A gory scene – consisting of men and horsed on the ground, soldiers with their swords unsheathed and ferocious expressions – stretches in the distance up to the horizon. The artist manages to express the strong dynamism of the warriors in a gloomy colored battlefield. 

Jaques Ignace Parrocel, born in 1646, French painter and engraver of Baroque soul, is proposing us a diptych: Battaglia e Saccheggio. What is impressive in the two works is the contrast between the ferocious action and the clear sky: death and horror opposed to the tranquility of light blue sprinkled with soft clouds. Both works feature the river element: in the looting, it is a distant element, whilst – in the fight – it plays an active role, since it hinders both the horses and the men in their crossing. 

The narration continues with a work by Felice Casorati, Studio per scena teatrale, a black and white tempera on havana paper applies on canvas, of 1934 approx. Besides his being a painter, the artist was set designer and costumier for the major Italian theaters. This work, which represents a war scene – most likely of the middle ages – with knights armed with spears – is supposed to be related to the “Torino” avant-garde theater, devised by patron Riccardo Gualino. 

We are concluding the series of battles with a work by Pieter De Neyn, oil on canvas of 1625 approx., Battaglia sul Fiume. In his career, the Dutch artist mainly dedicated to the painting of landscapes, wars and equestrian subjects. This work is an example of it: he painted the bed of a drained river. We see few spread knights, mainly in pairs, who are brandishing rifles and inciting their horses to a race that goes beyond the painting, towards a place the spectator cannot see. 

In the image, on the top Left /hand: Antonio Maria Marini, Battaglia – Scontro di cavalleria, (Battle – Cavalry fight) 1700 – 1710, oil on canvas, cm 180 x 230, courtesy of: Galleria Giamblanco (Turin). Followed by: Jaques Ignace Parrocel, Battaglia e Saccheggio (Battle and Looting), 1706, pair of oil on canvas, cm 82 x 118, courtesy of: Secol-Art di Masoero (Turin).
Below, on the LH side: Pieter De Neyn, Battaglia sul Fiume (Battle on River), 1625 approx., oil on panel, cm 27 x 32, courtesy of Galleria Luigi Caretto (Turin; Madrid). Followed by: Felice Casorati, Studio per scena teatrale (Study for theater scene) 1934 approx., black and white tempera on havana paper applied on canvas, cm 48 x 62, courtesy of Aleandri Arte Moderna (Rome).