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Osvaldo Licini Center Studies

What to see in Monte Vidon Corrado, Fermo, Marche


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The Centro Studi "Osvaldo Licini" of Monte Vidon Corrado activates cultural exchanges with similar institutions at national and international level, with universities, academies, museums and private collections, galleries. Currently, the Study Center is home to gathering documentation and testimonies (correspondence, press articles, photographs, interviews), also owns a specialized library that collects the bibliography on Licini and the Italian and European twentieth century art.

Permanent exhibition
"Signs and not dreams", so Licini had defined his art. The cards on display at Monte Vidon Corrado are drawings, studies, sketches, annotations that the artist has performed on the most varied, often occasional supports, in different moments of his journey, and in any case all characterized, beyond the thematic differences, stylistic, structural, with the unmistakable sign of Licini, incisive, icastic, fluctuating. Marchiori wrote that for Licini "design was a medium, an expression and an instrument of investigation: the seismograph, so to speak, of immediate ideas". Licini drew a lot, the paintings were preceded by a long "gestational phase" that included numerous sketches and preparatory drawings.

The exhibited drawings embrace a wide chronological period and offer us a significant excursus of Licini's artistic research. Well represented is the figurative period, that of the twenties. A group of drawings is dedicated to the human figure: among these the bony, angular, unripe body of a child, drawn on a commercial preprint, very similar to the "Ritratto di Nella" of 1926; still the same In seems identifiable in a bust of young girl lying with her head in her arms. The two still lifes date back to the same period: the reference to Morandi is inevitable, but by contrast. Absolute, to the immobility Licini contrasts the sense of the precariousness of things, instability, objects seem to levitate, escape from moment to moment to the principle of gravity.

Still in the middle of the third decade of the twentieth century the sheet with the navy can be dated: the trees with their bare and sinuous branches evoke Van Gogh, one of Licini's most beloved artists. There are also other hilly landscapes evidently Marche, all due to the twenties. On a sample of drawing sheets, the artist has also made a series of views of a country with its slanted perspectives, the alleys perched: even here, as in still lifes, the sign reminds us of a precarious, mobile reality, in which, in spite of the stillness, the buildings have oblique contours. Moreover, Licini himself stated that painting "is, contrary to what architecture is, an irrational art, with a predominance of fantasy and imagination, that is poetry".

The abstract turnaround, which took place around the 1930s, is strongly present in these sheets: arcane, lyrical geometries recur, both in the form of straight lines and directives and in more complex compositions, inhabited by numerals, letters in pencil or ink. Many are the Licinian characters: the Amalassunte, which stand on the edge of a sheet or on a postmarked envelope, with sinuous and sensual hands or feet; the winking, disturbing moons; the daring eroticism, a heretic of the rebellious Angels, some more structured, others just evoked in the study of heads and then the flying Dutchmen and all the typical Lycian iconography. In some papers the artist mixes, with almost alchemical, poetic text and images, in a continuous exchange between the visionary nature of the word, strongly evocative, and pregnancy of the graphic sign, charged with semantic values. It is poetry that expresses itself through literary and visual language. The themes dealt with are eros, pathos, the profound reflection on the meaning of existence, on the human dimension poised between the immense sky and the black mud of the earth, the irony, the desecration, the flight, the fall, the dream.

Leopardi, Novalis, Apollinaire, Mallarmé, Rimbaud, Campana are the favorite poets by Licini, whose echoes are perceived in the artist's texts. These sheets can therefore be extremely interesting for the scholar, for the art historian who intends to thoroughly investigate the Lycian universe; sketches in particular lend themselves to deepen the genesis of the works, to analyze the process of the creative act. The expressive effectiveness, the incisiveness and the enjoyment from an aesthetic point of view of these drawings make them appealing even for the simple visitor and for anyone who intends to approach the art of the great master.

Documentary archive
The Licini-Catalini epistolary, acquired in 2007 by the Centro Studi "Osvaldo Licini" of Monte Vidon Corrado by Felice Catalini's heirs, is, like all the collections of Licini's letters, composed only of "outgoing" writings, as no trace has been left the mail arrived to the artist, who had the habit of discarding it. It is a collection of twenty-one letters and fifty-seven postcards covering a period of thirty-six years, from 1922 to 1958. All sent to members of the Catalini family, they are divided as follows: twelve letters and thirty-eight postcards to Felice, six letters and nine postcards to Ermenegildo, a letter and a postcard to Agata - Felice's wife -, a letter to Filippo - son of Felice -, a letter and seven postcards to the sisters of the Catalini Rita and Bianca, a postcard to Rita alone and one to the Catalini family of Grottazzolina.

Felice (called by Osvaldo with the diminutive dialectal Felicì, or even Cicì or Francesco) and Ermenegildo (for which Osvaldo uses or the contracted form Gildo or, often, Checco) Catalini were respectively of 1893 and 1895, almost peers of Licini, they belonged to a large family of eight children, raised by their mother Rosa Andrenacci, who was prematurely widowed; after the experience of the seminar, dictated by the family situation, the brothers had attended the Lyceum of Fermo and then Felice had graduated in jurisprudence in Urbino becoming first lawyer and then notary, Ermenegildo instead had achieved in 1920 the degree in Literature in Rome and later, in 1929, a degree in Law at the University of Naples, choosing to become a high school professor. When in 1922 the brothers Catalini and Osvaldo Licini know each other, they are united by similar existential experiences: veterans of war and fresh graduates.

The analysis of correspondence, the topics dealt with, the prevalence of a certain linguistic register, allow not only to know aspects of the artist's biography, his personality, his cultural interests, his travels, offering a key to the historical reading of paintings, especially those of the figurative period, but also to outline, as in a mirror, the images of the recipients of the letters, and to enter and identify the characteristics of the relationship between Licini and the two brothers.

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