On 4 August 2016, the Francesco Ciusa Museum will open once again. The rooms devoted to the renowned artist, a native of Nuoro (1883-1949), will see all together the group of large gypsum sculptures owned by the Region of Sardinia and on free loan to the MAN Museum. These represent mostly the mature works of the sculptor, together with a group of other works lent by public bodies and private collectors.
All together, the exhibition includes almost fifty works representative of the artist's variegated activity, encompassing important works such as Il Ritorno [The Return], La Campana [The Bell], Il Fromboliere [The Slingsman], and Il Cainita [The Cainite], the reconstruction, using marble fragments of the original, of the Monument to Sebastiano Satta - erected in 1931 and later damaged, as well as the memorable Madre dell’ucciso [Mother of the Murdered],a signature work of Sardinian figurative culture, which the artist presented at the Biennial of Venice in 1907, to the applause of the critics.
The sculptures presented reflect the most intense moments in Ciusa's research, from the beginnings in the early years of the twentieth century to the final period at the end of the 1940s. Unlike many of his contemporaries, starting from 1899 Ciusa was able to attend the Florentine Accademia di Belle Arti, where he came into contact with masters, among whom the sculptor Domenico Trentacoste, the Macchiaiolo painter Giovanni Fattori and the engraver Adolfo De Carolis, of whom Ciusa refashioned not only the languages between realism and symbolism, but also the ideas of anarchism and socialism.
This is an itinerary for intense meditation showing a variety of outstanding personalities such as Giovanni Papini, Plinio Nomellini, and Galileo Chini, thanks to whose contribution the work of the sculptor reached an original synthesis capable of blending the tradition of Sardinian stonemasons, with their contribution of deep-rooted values and recurring themes, and the techniques of academic sculpture. Considered the initiator of modern sculpture in Sardinia, Ciusa succeeded in harmonizing two distant realities, that of rural life and economy, and that of the urban milieu, thus giving voice to the people of Sardinia, up to then unheard.
The itinerary “Sardegna 900”
At the time of the reopening of the Ciusa Museum, a selection of works from the collection of the MAN Museum will be exhibited in its two sites in Nuoro.
The rooms of the former Nuoro courthouse will host an exhibition dedicated to the artists of the Sardinian school of painting in the first half of the last century, containing the most important works in the MAN collection.
Created through the bringing together of four public collections (Province of Nuoro, City of Nuoro, Chamber of Commerce of Nuoro, Provincial Tourist Bureau) and later enlarged through an attentive strategy of purchases and loans, the MAN collection comprises works by artists who were born or active in Sardinia, in a period of time from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. It is a corpus of over six hundred works by many of the most important artists and some of the key works in the history of Sardinian art, such as Sa ria [Lamentation] by Antonio Ballero, La fede [Faith] by Mario Delitala (part of the cycle that decorates the city council chambers of Nuoro), Donna con frutta [Woman with Fruit] by Giovanni Ciusa Romagna, Contadino alla fonte [Farmer at the Spring] by Giuseppe Biasi, and many others.
These are works that provide a knowledge of the most important stages in the history of Sardinia's art in the first half of the twentieth century., featuring a rediscovery of the island’s traditional iconography, costumes, and daily rituals with which the artists propose to promote a new vision of the island and celebrate its native values, its emergence, the legend of an uncontaminated land and the genuineness of the Sardinian people, in comparison to the uniformity of modernity.
At the MAN Museum, the exhibition will be devoted to the so-called "Sardi dell’ISIA”: Salvatore Fancello (Dorgali, 1916-1941) Costantino Nivola (Orani, 1911-1988), and Giovanni Pintori (Tresnuraghes, 1912-1999). The ISIA (Istituto Superiore per le Industrie Artistiche) is the renowned school set up by the Umanitaria Society of Milan in Monza. From 1922 to 1943, it was an exceptional hothouse of talent on the model of the German Bauhaus, with important teachers such as Arturo Martini, Marino Marini, Pio Semeghini and Giuseppe Pagano. Thanks to grants by the Chamber of Commerce of Nuoro, between 1930 and 1931 Nivola, Fancello and Pintori, attended it and went on to make a strong mark on the figurative culture of the twentieth century and who, in the history of Sardinia's art, represent a significant moment of innovation and experimentation.