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 Giovanni Battista Emanuele Maria Segantini  (1858 - 1899)



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Lived/Active: Switzerland/Italy      Known for: en plein air pastoral landscape painting, figures

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Giovanni Segantini was an Italian painter who lived much of his life in Switzerland.  He was known especially for his large pastoral landscapes of the Alps.  Later in his life he incorporated Divisionist* and Symbolist* images into his work.

He was born in 1858 in Arco, in the province of Trient, on the northern bank of Lake Garda, Giovanni Segantini attended the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. Subsequently, he lived in the Brianza region, and then moved to Switzerland in 1886. He first settled with his family in Savognin, but from 1894 he was based in Maloja and Soglio. Segantini died of peritonitis in 1899, at the early age of 41, while working on the middle section of his Alpine Triptych, Nature, on the Schafberg high above Pontresina.

Already during his lifetime, Segantini was celebrated through much of Europe as an innovator and prophet, as well as an important symbolist painter.  His early works, executed in Milan and Brianza, still bear testimony to the traditional Lombard style of painting.  After moving to the Alps, with its pure, clear air, the artist was able to develop a style which exuded radiance and at the same time went hand in hand with the evolution of the Divisionism painting technique and his progression towards Symbolism.

At the end of the 19th century, Giovanni Segantini executed a panorama conveying an underlying universal truth; his impressive Alpine Triptych, Life – Nature – Death, was one of the last paintings of its kind in that era.  The work – a large-dimensional portrayal of the life cycle – was intended for the Paris World Exhibition in 1900 and depicts human existence in harmony with nature. The landscapes and simple characters portrayed are woven into the eternal rhythm of the changing seasons.


Segantini Museum


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