Navigation
A Young Boy at Venice  Biennale in 1932

A Young Boy at Venice Biennale in 1932

This beautiful bronze head depicts the artist’s son as an adolescent. The wavy hair, arranged on one side, partially fall on the forehead. The gaze ahead and the softly closed mouth transmit a feeling of innocent amazement, characteristic of that young age. The bronze surface, gently rippled, softens the light recalling an impressionistic and “scapigliato” effect typical of other sculptors of that period such as Libero Andreotti, Italo Griselli and Francesco Messina. But here, in his confident pose and in the attentive look, one can find the energy and the potentiality of a young adult, so appreciated in the boys of those years, together with an ephebic beauty recalling classical aesthetics. Baglioni, and the Italian sculpture of the Thirties in general, look for a renewed humanism by looking at the ancient art.
At his first Venice Biennale, the 18th edition held in 1932, Baglioni exhibited two sculptures in Room 19, one of which is precisely the present one: this is attested both by a label with the title of the work, still pasted under the original wooden base, and by two photographs taken on that occasion now stored at the ASAC (Archivio Storico dell’Arte Contemporanea, Venice).

Umberto Baglioni, born in Calabria (Scalea 1893), moved to Turin in 1917 where he studied with Edoardo Rubino at the Accademia Albertina, initially close to the “Scapigliato” and Liberty taste of the rich and lively Turin of those years and then approaching the roman Neoclassicism. Already praised in 1919 for “the ability to reach high peaks and to wrap the work with a mystical veil”, around 1920 he opens his own studio.
He participates in the Venice Biennale six times since 1932; in 1942, he even deserves an entire room where he shows eleven sculptures and the critics write: “Napoleone Martinuzzi e Umberto Baglioni respirano un’atmosfera più calma, vivono in un mondo più sereno, dove il sentimento è contenuto e dominato dal gusto; la loro Musa […] (è) Tersicore, musa dall’agile passo e dell’equilibrio difficile” (Le tre Venezie, 1942, p. 263).
In 1936 he inherits the chair of his master Edoardo Rubino at the Albertina and in 1937 after winning a competition among 56 artists, he achieves in Turin one of his best known works: the pair of fountains with two big marble sculptures depicting the Po and the Dora Rivers, with an outcome typical of the Italian 20th century Neoclassicism.
i
Umberto Baglioni (Scalea 1893-Torino 1965)
“MIO FIGLIO”
Bronze
Circa 1930
Cm 16 x 24 h
Exhibited at the 18th Venice Biennale (1932), as stated by a label under the base.
References: Enzo Le Pera, Arte di Calabria tra Otto e Novecento, Catanzaro 2001, p. 21; Marco Vallora, Dal divisionismo all’informale: tradizione, visionarietà e geometria nell’arte in Piemonte 1880-1960, Mazzotta 2011, p. 233.