Soul and forms from Michelangelo to Klimt.
Adolfo Wildt (Milan, 1868-1931) is the forgotten genius of Italian twentieth-century. For a long time, despite recognitions and fame that he reached in life- for evident merits he was given of the sculpture chair at the prestigious Accademia di Brera and was also nominated Accademico d’Italia- critics appreciation was always controversial. Only now people start to considerate him among the main twentieth-century sculptors.
Not a member of the avant-garde world and anti-conformist, capable of melting in his art a classic and anti-classic style together, Wildt is a unique case in his being each time all and without a place. The past is not a linear flux of passed things anymore, but, as Baudelaire teaches, a new time, decadence and modernity together, a vast land of crystallized meanings- Egypt and Greece, Gothic and Renaissance- that survive one next to the other, available to the use and the risk of interpretation.
Wildt’s incredible technical excellence and his extraordinary versatility were criticized both by conservators and supporters of the modern. They didn’t see him sharing their same line, either due to his still Symbolistic contents and his formal choices that were characterized by gothic and Expressionistic echoes, parts neither of the Mediterranean tradition or the regime art.
They used to question his fidelity to the figure, the monumental vocation, his on-going dialogue with the main sculptors and painters of the past, and the sculpture choice as a technique’s glorification.
Not less controversial was his use of marble as the traditionally favourite material, which he knew how to shape with surprising effects reaching the image’s highest purification.
Wildt’s fortune has been affected by these aspects for a long time. Nowadays we are touched by a fascination that only a great exhibition can finally give back.
Starting from the unique group of works preserved in Forlì, due to Paulucci di Calboli family’s patronage (a family that was a protagonist of both the histories of town and nation) and thanks to Archivio Scheiwiller’s availability (Scheiwiller was the great publisher that inherited a lot of Wildt works and materials through relatives connections) to put together Wildt extraordinary masterpieces and to re-construct the most complete path of his either sculpture and graphic production is now possible.
The idea that rules this exhibition is not just the one of a solo project, but also the idea of a path that (like the case of the recent Canova exhibition always in Forlì) deeply connects Wildt works to the ones of past’s artists (as Fidia, Cosmè Tura, Antonello da Messina, Dürer, Pisanello, Bramante, Michelangelo, Bramantino, Bronzino, Bambaia, Cellini, Bernini, Canova) and modernists as well (Previati, Dudreville, Mazzucotelli, Rodin, Klimt, De Chirico, Morandi, Casorati, Martini, Messina, Fontana, Melotti). Wildt did compare him self with them in an intense and original way, passing through different artistic fields and moments.
His favourite themes, like the myth and the mask ones, allowed him to hold a dialogue also with music (Wagner) and his contemporary literature, from D’Annunzio (who was his collector) to Pirandello and Bontempelli. Wildt has been able to create an Olympus of perturbing modern idols, for instance he did colossal portraits of Mussolini, Vittorio Emanuele III, Pio XI, Margherita Sarfatti, Toscanini and much more other heroes of that time.
Wildt’s will is to take gestures, faces, human figures to an essential nudity, capturing the soul of it in order to allow the thought to reach a composed and mature harmony between the line and the form.
This is a personal translation of the exhibition brochure. For more information visit Wildt exhibition website.