Campigli Massimo: the painter was born in Florence on July 4th 1895 and died in Saint-Tropez in 1971.

In 1909 he moved with his family to Milan, and here he worked on the “Letteratura” magazine, frequenting avant-garde circles and making the acquaintance of Boccioni and Carrà. In 1914 the futurist magazine “Lacerba” published his Giornale + Strada – Parole in libertà (Journal + Road – Free speech). During the First World War Campigli was captured and deported to Hungary where he remained a prisoner of war from 1916-18.

At the end of the war he moved to Paris where he worked as foreign correspondent for the Milanese daily newspaper “Corriere della Sera”. Although he had already produced some drawings during the war, it was only after he arrived in Paris that he started to paint.


Geometric designs
The first figurative works applied geometrical designs to the human figure, reflecting the influence of Pablo Picasso and Fernand Léger as well as the purism of “L’Esprit Nouveau”. Campigli was also deeply struck by Egyptian art, which he studied at the Louvre.


First Personal Exhibition
In 1923 he organised his first personal exhibition at the Bragaglia Gallery in Rome. During the next five years his figures developed a monumental carriage, often with stylistic poses and the limbs interwoven into a sculptural solidity. The importance given to order and tradition, the atmosphere of serenity and eternity were in line with the post-war reconstruction and the programme of the “Twentieth Century” artists with whom Campigli frequently exhibited both in Milan from 1926-29 and abroad from 1927-31.



"A cantora" 1940-50

"Figura di donna" 1935

"Affresco" 1941

"Donna con anfora"




Venice Biennial Exhibition
As from 1926 he joined the “Paris Italians” together with De Chirico, De Pisis, Renato Paresce, Savinio, Severini and Mario Tozzi. In 1928, year of his debut at the Venice Biennial, he was very much taken by the Etruscan collection when visiting the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome. He then broke away from the compact severity of his previous works in favour of a plane with subdued tones and schematic forms rich in arcaisms.

A new cycle of work
During a journey in Rumania with his wife Magdalena Radulescu, he started on a new cycle of works portraying women employed in domestic tasks and agricultural labour. These figures were distributed in asymmetrical and hieratic compositions, hovering on a rough textured plane, inspired by ancient frescoes. These works were enthusiastically received by the critics at the exhibition held in the Jeanne Bucher Gallery, Paris, in 1929 and at the Milione Gallery, Milan, in 1931. During the ‘thirties he held a series of personal exhibitions in New York, Paris and Milan which acclaimed the international success of the artist.

In 1933 Campigli returned to Milan where he worked on projects of vast dimensions. In the same year he signed the Sironi’s Mural Art Manifesto and painted a fresco of mothers, country-women, working women, for the V Milan Triennial which unfortunately was later destroyed. In the following ten years other works were commissioned: “I costruttori” (The builders) for the League of Nations in Geneva in 1937; “Non uccidere” (Do not kill) for the Milan Courts of Justice in 1938, an enormous 300 square metre fresco for the entrance hall , designed by Gio Ponti, of the Liviano, Padua which he painted during 1939-40.

The last great successes
After divorcing from his wife in 1939, Campigli remarried with the sculptress Giuditta Scalini. Together they passed the war years in Milan and in Venice, then after the war they divided their time between Rome, Paris and Saint-Tropez. In a personal exhibition at the Venice Biennial in 1948 he displayed his new compositions : female figures inserted in complicated architectonic structures. During the ‘sixties his figures were reduced to coloured markings in a group of almost abstract canvasses . In 1967 a retrospective exhibition was dedicated to Campiglio at the Palazzo Reale in Milan.



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