mostra il mare

“The Sea: Myth History Nature.”

Italian Art 1860-1940
Curated by Massimo Bertozzi
July 9 – October 30, 2022

Palazzo Cucchiari – Giorgio Conti Onlus Foundation
Via Cucchiari, 1 – Carrara


Tuesday – Wednesday – Thursday – Sunday 09:30 – 12:30 | 16:00 – 20:00
Friday – Saturday 09:30 – 12:30 | 16:00 – 23:00

Tuesday – Wednesday – Thursday – Sunday 09:30 – 12:30 | 16:00 – 20:00
Friday – Saturday09:30 – 12:30 | 16:00 – 21:00


Info: 0585 72355 –

Admission ticket

FULL: €10.00

REDUCED: €8.00

GROUPS (10 to 29 ): €8.00

GROUPS(30 and up): €7.00

SCHOOLS: €4.00 (2 free chaperones for school groups)

FREE OF CHARGE: Youth up to 8 years of age accompanied by parents – Handicapped persons and accompanying person – Journalists with national card

Sponsor: R.E.D. Graniti S.p.A.

Media partner: Windows on Art

And outside a sea all fresh with color (Sandro Penna)

Let us not be fooled, the beauty of places is not free, not even in this narrow and squashed land, in the face of a sea disputed between Tuscany and Liguria.

For we are not dealing with a last remnant of paradise, but with a space wrested from nature, slowly and with effort.

A thin plain pushed, but almost never attracted, toward the sea by the looming of sullen mountains, which truncate the view, take away space, and grant men and animals only impervious paths; up steep and craggy sides, where every palm of flat land has cost centuries of toil, sleepless nights, and daily worries.

A land wrested, in the course of eternal hand-to-hand struggle, from the hostility of the waters, the tumultuous ones that break through the banks, dig up the earth and drag it downstream, and the stagnant ones, which swamped the plain, making it inhospitable, infected and malarial.

This is how man here had to get used to living between the land and the sea, facing an unchanging horizon line, fearing neither rain nor dust, clinging to ancient confidences and primitive flavors, the bitter olive, the tender wheat, the sour grapes.

Shielding a mountain, which turns its stern face and imposing bulk to the sea, the of iron hills that plummet into the sea, man has drawn this horizon, domestic, but only in appearance: Native are the olive, fig and vine trees, and higher up the chestnut trees, but then everything else comes from outside: the cypresses of Persia, the orange trees of Arabia and the cedars of Lebanon, the apricots of Palestine and the medlars of Japan, the palms of Africa.

A land that welcomes and naturalizes exotic plants and fruit trees, and then again vegetables and greens, just as it welcomes and naturalizes outsiders: lonely wayfarers and straggling warriors, distracted travelers, curious people and off-course artists.

A land as accustomed to the dampness of sirocco as it is to the storm of libeccio, or the weary becalmedness of Provence, but not to the frost of tramontana, which lulls alone on the mountainsides, it is nonetheless from the sea that it receives the smells of the world and the calls of adventure.

In the clear air of the sunset, Elba, and Capraia and Gorgona, and up to Palmaria, in the face of Portovenere, seem to invite toward another sea, while from above the grazing of goats, the pastures of shepherds, the potholes of giants, suddenly materialize the myth of Orpheus, dark and troubling.

But the shadows of dark omens have not tarnished the swarm of images that the sea has always poured onto the beaches, into that everyday panorama where the dream of myth and the toil of history are mirrored and confused.
To all this is dedicated this exhibition, articulated as follows:

The sea of imagination: myths and visions

The sea of imagination is only in appearance far away and elsewhere; in reality it is the sea of closeness, of remembrance that shortens distances, because it lurks in everyone’s memory, the one where the best part of the past is deposited, to feed dreams and visions of which there has never been a shortage on the sea.

A world of sand: horizons between land and sea

The sea of realism, from the Macchiaioli onward, is a condition of nature, with its morning mists and blinding sunsets, as well as the sea of darkness, which for the epic poets had the color of wine; in any case, it is a sea for earthy people, who paint in the open air and in full light, but still with their feet and easel firmly planted on the ground.

Going to sea: constraint and adventure

In the gestures, voices and colors of the men who live and work on the sea, the transition from nature to history is told: when everyday life reverberates in the mirror of poetry and art.

Going to the sea: the resort

The geometry of the cabins, the white triangles of the sails, the pastel colors of the deckchairs and umbrellas, all enclosed between the blue of the sea, the gray of the sandy shores, and the green of the pine forests: far more than a pretext, an overpowering stimulus to paint: on the sea, painting also finds its transmigrations, like fish, like birds, like peoples.

Objects of the sea: nature remembered

Collectors of shells, collectors of round stones and stained glass, enamored of the wrecks of ancient shipwrecks, attracted by the colorful glitter of fish and crustaceans, still life painters, all seem to be epigones of Anjou the “water man” who, on the beach of Viareggio, collected the straccalli of the Magra River, to adorn his poor hut of shingles.

Man and the sea: the body of sculpture.

In the domains of sculpture the body of man, and of woman, has always been laid bare; at the sea the same thing seems to happen: the so-called beach life is indeed eating, sleeping, bathing having fun, with the intention of restoring the mind, but in the end the purpose seems rather to nourish the body and exhibit the physique.

Thus, the selection of artists ranges from the various schools of the Macchiaioli (Fattori) and post-Macchiaioli (Lloyd, Ulvi Liegi, Puccini) to the so-called Labronian painters (March and Natali), from Symbolist figuration (Sartorio, Benvenuti, Baracchini Caputi), from the colorful world of the Divisionists (Nomellini) to the season of the avant-gardes (Ram, Thayaht) and the “returns to order,” with references to the great individualities of Italian art, De Chirico, Savinio, De Pisis, Campigli, Morandi, Nathan and among sculptors Martini, Marino, Manzù, Messina.

Special attention will be given to theLigurian-Apuanarea, and thus to native Versilian painters, such as Chini, Moses Levy, Viani, or adopted ones, such as Carrà, Carena, De Grada, Funi, and then to the singers of the lands of Liguria, such as Telemaco Signorini and Apuan sculptors such as Carlo Fontana and Arturo Dazzi.

The sea remains everyone’s but belongs to no one: thus these artists saw the same sea, but then each imagined and figured his own.